Tomorrow marks the 88th birthday of Morgana King. What a unique and talented soul this woman is. I was first exposed to Morgana in the early 90s. One of her first Mercury (EmArcy) albums was released on CD with a host of other jazz artists like Helen Merrill, Billy Eckstine and Blossom Dearie. It was packaged in one of those maddening long plastic boxes with the artwork on the top and the disc on the bottom. It’s a wonder I have any teeth left. Yes, I was one of those who opened the boxes without a knife. .
Later I was turned onto more recent Morgana recordings including the following beautiful examples.
In mid 2000 I was living in San Diego but in the process of moving to Los Angeles. I learned that Morgana would be at the dearly missed Cinegrill at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for a 70th birthday celebration. I talked a buddy into going with me. I was so blessed to be there. Here’s a picture of Morgana from that day.
I have since learned from the wonderful writer James Gavin in his Jazz Times article about Morgana that this was her Farewell Birthday Show. This was one time that I was in the right place at the right time. (James’ article provides a great insight into the life of Morgana.)
Here’s a clip of Morgana at the Hollywood Bowl in a tribute concert dedicated to Billie Holiday. (Thank you Morganafan for the Youtube posting!)
Happy Happy Birthday Morgana. (June 4th). May you be as blessed as you’ve blessed us!