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Monk Meets Blakey

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Album Review

This compilation assembles some long unavailable bop sessions led by either Art Blakey or trumpeter Joe Gordon as a collectable Verve Elite Edition reissue CD. Blakey's quintet includes Gordon pianist Walter Bishop, Jr. and alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce, who composed most of the music. "Minority" has long since become a standard among boppers but "Salute To Birdland" is almost as good; the remaining tracks are quite as strong. Gordon's set leads off with Coleman Hawkins' well known riff tune "Rifftide; " Pianist Junior Mance provides Gordon with some strong backing and a young Charlie Rouse adds a spirited tenor sax solo. Gordon's playing is a little choppy on his tunes "Xochimilco" and "Evening Lights," while his lyrical take of "Body And Soul" is strangely backed by Blakey's tom toms. This is a mandatory acquisition for Blakey fans and those who enjoy bop.


Born: 11 October 1919 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

In the '60s, when John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman were defining the concept of a jazz avant-garde, few knowledgeable observers would have guessed that in another 30 years the music's mainstream would virtually bypass their innovations, in favor of the hard bop style that free jazz had apparently supplanted. As it turned out, many listeners who had come to love jazz as a sophisticated manifestation of popular music were unable to accept the extreme esotericism of the avant-garde; their tastes were...
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