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Jazz Messengers!!!!! / A Jazz Message

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Album Review

Impulse Records released only two LPs credited to Art Blakey, both with somewhat generic titles, 1961's Jazz Messengers!!!!, with Blakey's usual group, the Jazz Messengers, and 1963's A Jazz Message, by the Art Blakey Quartet. Half a century later, the two albums make an obvious choice for a two-fer CD from the Impulse/Verve imprint of Universal. The former album (Tracks 1-6) is a fairly standard set for the Jazz Messengers of the time, a group then including Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, which is to say that it is a superior hard bop blowing session. For A Jazz Message (Tracks 7-12), Impulse tried something different, convening, on a one-time-only basis for the July 16, 1963, recording date, a group consisting of Blakey on drums, Art Davis on bass, McCoy Tyner on piano, and Sonny Stitt on tenor and alto saxophones. The thrown-together nature of the date is indicated by the reliance on standards like "Summertime" and "The Song Is You," as well as the straight blues called "Blues Back." But the players spark each other, with Tyner getting some excellent solo time (particularly on "Blues Back"), while the spotlight usually falls on Stitt. Blakey mostly contents himself with timekeeping, which throws into question his leadership of the outfit, but as usual, he is a catalyst. The two albums provide different sides of his talent from his prime.


Born: October 11, 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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Jazz Messengers!!!!! / A Jazz Message, Art Blakey
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  • $7.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: Jun 27, 2011

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