Lee Morgan is a remarkable jazz trumpeter who deserves the spotlight. Despite his name being less recognizable than other acclaimed artists from the 1950s and ’60s, Morgan’s influence on both his contemporaries and musicians today resonates across the decades that separate us from the height of his career.
We’re breaking down some of his best work by the numbers. Our rankings include his most wanted albums, most collected albums, most collected features (albums by fellow jazz greats that featured Morgan), and highest-rated releases.
The most wanted and most collected roundups are determined by how many members of the Discogs Community added the album to their Wantlist or their Collection, respectively. Morgan’s biggest piece of work is The Sidewinder, which is reflected in the data. The record ranks as the No. 1 most collected and most wanted release. In fact, the same releases break the top five most collected and wanted albums with one exception: 1961’s Leeway is the most coveted while 1965’s The Rumproller is in more people’s collections.
Morgan played with Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane early in his career and was a regular collaborator with Art Blakey and Wayne Shorter, so we also looked at the most popular albums recorded by other musicians that feature the brilliant trumpeter. Coltrane’s Blue Train leads the pack; Morgan was only 19 years old when it was released in 1957. Morgan was a regular member of the Jazz Messengers, so two Blakey titles make the list — you can hear Morgan on the Blakey hits “Moanin'” and “A Night in Tunisia” — rounded out by records from Shorter and Jimmy Smith.
The highest-rated list is ranked by a weighted rating that takes into consideration the average rating and the number of ratings submitted by Discogs users. Unsurprisingly, Morgan’s highest-rated releases are dominated by reissues from Blue Note. The celebrated jazz label released the vast majority of his discography and continues to uphold his legacy today with remastered versions of his most well-known work. The only release that breaks this trend is the original 1958 edition of The Cooker, which stands out with an exceptionally high weighted rating for an older record.
Despite the success of The Sidewinder and the quality of the Search for the New Land reissues, it is Lee Morgan’s Vol. 3 from 1957 that commands the highest price tag. The vinyl went for $2,000 in 2020, making it the most expensive release by Morgan ever sold on Discogs.
Most Wanted Albums
Most Collected Albums
Most Collected Features
*This album was originally self-titled as Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers but was often renamed Moanin’ on later issues due to the popularity of the opening track.
Published in partnership with Blue Note.