Nate MorganJourney Into Nigritia
Starting out in 1979, Nimbus West was initially a vehicle to promote the music of Tapscott, who gave up a successful career in Lionel Hampton's band and returned to Los Angeles to establish the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, a community arts ensemble that was dedicated to providing accessible, community-focused jazz and musical education. Over some forty years, the Arkestra, along with the associated Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension (UGMAA) Foundation, were at the vanguard of a crucial community-centred black arts movement in the city.
Alongside the numerous projects from Tapscott, Nimbus West also issued recordings from a range of artists and ensembles from big band to solo and everything in between. These artists included Curtis Clark, Jesse Sharp, Gary Bias, Linda Hill, Adele Sebastian, Roberto Miranda, Dadisi Komolafe, Rickey Kelly and Nate Morgan.
Pianist Nate Morgan was born 10 February 1964 and played in a number of local bands during junior high school, taking lessons from Joe Sample and Hampton Hawes. During his school years he worked with Tapscott’s UGMAA as well as around the LA jazz scene more generally before recording and performing with the successful funk/soul band Rufus and Chaka Khan. As a pianist, he was influenced by Thelonious Monk, McCoy Tyner and Stanley Cowell and developed musical associations with Arthur Blythe, John Heard, Charles Owens, Nedra Wheeler, Sonship Theus, and Elias Negash.
Morgan’s first recording as leader, Journey to Nigrita, is an impressive work for a 20 year old. It covers and follows a number of musical streams: post-modal impressionism, deep afro-centric jazz and free improvisation. It is influenced by, but not beholden to, Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor and features Fritz Wise on drums, Jeff Littleton, on bass and Dadisi Komolafe on alto sax.
After several years of illness, Nate Morgan died on 21 November 2013.