In jazz journalist Scott Yanow's book, Bebop (Miller Freeman Books, 2000), he opens his bio piece on LANNY MORGAN as follows:
"A brilliant bebop alto soloist often overlooked because he lives in Los Angeles rather than New York, Lanny Morgan is one of the underrated Greats: few can rip through Cherokee with his flow of ideas. Morgan is one of the underrated Greats: few can rip through Cherokee with his flow of ideas."
Countless critics and fans agree-in the U.S. and especially elsewhere-accounting for many repeat tours of the U.K. where he has been a frequent frontliner with British musicians. As a leader of his own group and a solo performer, he has been on the scene here and abroad since 1960, playing every major jazz club and festival that exists and guesting as soloist/clinician at colleges and universities in nearly every state of the union.
Morgan first came to prominence in New York, as the young lead alto for Maynard Ferguson's Big Band of the sixties, as well as the MF Sextet of the same era, and clubbing with his own group in the Big Apple.
His signature sound has endured from his early years with Ferguson through decades in a career that has spanned an A-Z list of involvement with everyone notable in the recent history of jazz—Supersax, Bill Holman, Frank Capp’s Juggernaut, to name a few. A significant endorsement of his earned respect was the prestigious guest spot in a 2004 program titled “Bird Lives,” a tribute to revered alto saxman Charlie Parker. The program spotlighted Morgan in a performance with members of the Pasadena Symphony, reproducing the famous recording of “Charlie Parker with Strings,” and in a quartet setting, playing famous Parker tunes.
The most recent Morgan-led recording, "6" The Lanny Morgan Sextet, documents several of many Morgan-penned originals, “just waiting for the right opportunity to ‘go on record,’” he said. "6" features "the old master" (so-named by Hong Kong Press) with Bob Summers (trumpet), Doug Webb (tenor sax), Tom Ranier (piano), Chuck Berghofer (bass) and Steve Schaeffer (drums), fellow old masters -- some older than others, but all masters in their own right. His other CDs include a project for Fresh Sound Records, A Suite for Yardbird, Lanny Morgan interprets the compositions of Charlie Parker; Pacific Standard (Contemporary), The Lanny Morgan Quartet (VSOP) and It’s About Time (Quicksilver Records QSCD2024, Palo Alto Jazz Masters).
Overall, credits include TV, movie soundtracks, more than 100 albums, regular guest appearances at major world festivals. Appearances at nearly 100 colleges and high schools coast-to-coast inspired “Lanny’s Licks,” a book for beginning jazz improv students (Rheuben Publications). And, he has been an instructor for several years at Idyllwild Jazz Camp.
Of all the comments made, from Yanow's accolade to earliest critiques, perhaps the most candid, also the most telling, came from Eric Snider, Music Magazine:
"Just when it appears that my listening
education of the glorious alto saxophone nears completion-Cole, Woods,
Pepper, Adderly, of course Parker, and a few others having been properly
savored- along comes a guy named Lanny Morgan, whose moniker is only
remotely familiar, to knock me on my ass!"