About Isaiah Morgan
Of the musically talented brothers in the Morgan family of New Orleans, only Isaiah Morgan was given a first name that could be said to be distinctive if not exactly unusual. The range of Biblical names that could be conceivably stamped on babies' foreheads was much grander back at the close of the 19th century, since which time the siblings' names of Andrew, Alan, and Sam have become impossibly common, while Isaiah has evolved into something of a grab-bag for demented typographers who enjoy combining vowels at random. Credits can and do appear for this fine trumpeter and bandleader in the form of Isih, Isah, Isiah, Isaah, and so forth in every conceivable variation.
His three previously mentioned siblings were bassist Al Morgan, whose discography towers above all the rest, fellow trumpeter Sam Morgan, and saxophonist and clarinetist Andrew Morgan. The bassist was the brother who went up river and stayed up river, becoming a part of R&B history in the Midwest and finally settling in California while the rest of the Morgan clan remained in New Orleans. If the subject of sibling rivalry is initiated regarding the family's pair of trumpeters, the actions of the bassist brother should be taken into account. Al Morgan filled the bass slot in Isaiah Morgan's bands in the early '20s, but never played in outfits led by Sam Morgan. The brass brothers themselves had no problem playing together, although the band name relays an obvious impression of who was calling the shots in Sam Morgan's Jazz Band, circa 1927.
A live recording from 1955 is the major recorded documentation of Isaiah Morgan's music, a solid one-course meal in a town that prefers seven or eight. Dance Hall Days, Vol. 1 indeed features the trumpeter leading his own outfit at a Biloxi dance with trusted and well-grounded sidekick Freddie Land on piano. To be described as including titles that literally leap off the page onto the bandstand, a set list does not require the inclusion of both "Biloxi Jump" and "Bunny Hop," but it doesn't hurt. There is material from the early years that has been reissued on Timeless: a set that also includes material by Oscar "Papa" Celestin is highlighted by Sam Morgan's Jazz Band's 1927 Columbia sides, including a highly accelerated "Steppin' On the Gas." ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi