Veteran alto saxophonist Frank Morgan performs majestically on his second Telarc release, Bop!, smoothly reviving eight bop standards with backing from pianist Rodney Kendrick's sophisticated trio, which includes bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Leroy Williams. As Morgan proved on his romantic Telarc debut quartet album in 1995, Love Lost and Found, he creates from a warm, kaleidoscopic palette.
With Bop!, Morgan revisits the heyday of bebop between 1945-1955, imparting his lyrical approach to classics by Thelonious Monk ("52nd Street Theme," "Well You Needn't"), Miles Davis ("Half Nelson"), Dizzy Gillespie ("Night in Tunisia"), Charlie Parker ("K.C. Blues") and more.
Bop! not only confirms Morgan's progress, but indicates his future. Working with accomplished young lions, Morgan sets a trend for the 21st century with his laid-back variations of time-honored bebop standards. His expressions are Parker-like—articulate, spirited, sultry and intelligent, yet reduced in intensity to the bare essence of bop. His polished, melodic performance with Kendrick's simpatico team is destined to rank high among definitive restatements of bebop themes.