Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Live in '58 (TDK, 2006)

Art Blakey led many great bands as boss of the Jazz Messengers for more than thirty years, but perhaps none so potent as the this group. Together for only a short period of time, yet miraculously captured in high quality black and white during this concert in Belgium in 1958. Along with Blakey on drums are Benny Golson on tenor saxophone, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Bobby Timmons on piano and Jamie Merrit on bass. Melding groove and bebop into the very epitome of hard bop, the group plays vigorous versions of songs that would become classics of the era. Morgan plays with incredible strength and restraint on Golson's "I Remember Clifford" written to commemorate the great trumpet player Clifford Brown who was tragically lost in a car accident not long before this recording. It is fascinating to see everyone in the band pick up some some hand percussion to become a percussion ensemble during portions of "A Night In Tunisia," led by Blakey's protean drumming. Bobby Timmon's classic "Moanin'" is taken at length with the composer as well as Golson and Morgan (barely 20 years old and playing like an absolute monster) spooling out lengthy solos. The music here is excellent and is capped off by Blakey's witty song introductions. This is a must see for all fans of traditional hard-bop oriented jazz. Live in '58 - amazon.com

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