Lee Morgan “Search For The New Land” (1964)


Track Selection:  “Melancholee”

Original rip 2011 180kbps from DJ portable £100 tt.

“Melancholee”: Grant Geen’s solo is sensitive, and Wayne Shorter’s elegant, while Morgan continues to show off his mercurial brilliance, to be lost for all time just a few years later


Lee Morgan (tp) Wayne Shorter (ts) Herbie Hancock (p) Grant Green (g) Reggie Workman (b) Billy Higgins (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 15, 1964


In 1964 Lee Morgan recorded what was probably his last artistically “serious” jazz record, BLP 4169 “Search for the New Land” in the company of Herbie Hancock, Grant Green and Wayne Shorter. In the same year his album “The Sidewinder” set cash registers ringing for Blue Note, entering the Billboard charts, and drawing Lee inexorably toward commercial “Pop-Bop with subsequent releases.

Vinyl: Blue Note BST 84169 Stereo – Liberty reissue – no “ear”

It sounds great, little different from an original Blue Note, perhaps a little less “bite”, though nothing that would detract from listening pleasure. During the early years of Liberty ownership, most Blue Note new titles and reissues were pressed by All Disc, Roselle N.J. a formerly independent pressing plant acquired by Liberty at the time of the Blue Note acquisition. The trademark Plastylite ear is missing but they are comparable extremely high quality pressings, with the head start of original Van Gelder mastering.

Budget-conscious audiophile collectors should enjoy a substantial saving on the price of original Plastylite Blue Note, pressed from Van Gelder master metal and a few years less wear and tear. I have over a dozen Liberty” Blue Notes reissues  which all sound fresh and satisfying and I have had no audio disappointments.



Collectors Corner

This copy hails not from 1964, but from 1966 and the record presses of Liberty. Declared as a Van Gelder stamped  “Van Gogh Blue Note” (missing ear)  it was an eyes-wide-open deal, and the price reflected it.  It is always essential to establish the presence or absence of the Plastylite “ear”. Again and again sellers “fail to mention it”, in the hope niaeve buyers will trust to luck. The rule is, if the record has all the other signs (Van Gelder stamp, NY labels, Blue Note cover address, but the seller fails to mention the ear, and hasn’t responded to your question before auction close,  bid only on the basis it is not present, it is not an original Blue Note pressing.(Typically worth  £30-40 rather than £80-120)

A nice touch was the inclusion of the 1966 Blue Note picture inner sleeve “27 Years of” two years more recent than the original inner sleeve. Liberty obssesively used up all printed stock before ordering new.

I would rather have a New York label original mono, but with prices climbing up to nearly £300 for desirable “originals” the chance to trade up to an early-press Liberty with New York labels and cover for only a little over £30 was too good to pass up. Thank you eBay.

(Album pictures and rip updated to modern standard October 23, 2016)

8 thoughts on “Lee Morgan “Search For The New Land” (1964)

  1. Finally Picked this up in MONO. There is another Mono with an Ear up for auction but you know that’s going to go high. I have 2 Blue/Black Van gelder stamped and a Stereo New York pressing.


  2. I’m going to chime in a little late here to say that judging from my Music Matters 45 cover, the “marks” to the left of the eyes are his ear. Unless I’m misunderstanding which marks you’re talking about. Or maybe it’s not an ear, maybe it’s a P (haha). I’m not sure what the lighter spots on the right are, but I think they’re just something in the background of the photo.


  3. Nice find!
    I find them early (assumed) liberty pressings with New York labels to be a bit puzzling. There is no P but the vinyl is much heavier and sturdy than later liberties. The rim feels different too – softer and wider. What happened here? Did they just decide to use less vinyl mass for pressings or change pressing machines or what? Sometimes I think that they were not pressed at the same location as later liberties. Did BN use another pressing plant between plastylite and Liberty in between?


    • I have now ten NY label/ no ear pressing stamped VAN GELDER. They are as you say “heavy vinyl” compared with “Division of Liberty” and sound just a tad short of Plastylite quality and cost about a third.. All I know is that Liberty stopped Plastylite immediately, and had three national pressing plants, I assume, one on each coast and one in the middle. There is a story here, but I don’t know it. If anyone does, please tell!


  4. This is my favorite Lee Morgan LP. I know have 2 copies (Stereo.. VG. P) and I mention this because what look like marks to the left of his face in the black background at eye level and to the right at mouth/nose level turn out to be in the original image!

    Sublime music. Enjoy.


    • How extraordinary, I never would have noticed. The cover art on Blue Notes is all way before Photoshop so there must be some printing film technology at work. I used to keep my own darkroom – dishes, red light, chemicals, all that stuff. Have to admire what Francis Wolff and Reid Miles achieved. So far ahead of what the big corporations with huge budgets produced. But that’s Blue Note for you.
      Great album, I listened it through last night and it gets better with repeated playing.


      • Yes, looks like a finger print on the negative on the left and slight bending of negative on the right (probably when it was placed in the reel for development). I still develop and print my own film here (120 and 35mm). Most BN cover images seem to have been shot on 120 film, probably with a Rolleiflex or Hasselblad….


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