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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released July 17, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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This time capsule, recorded in 1959 in Rudy Van Gelder's Hackensack, NJ, living room and left undisturbed in the Blue Note vaults until now, contains the essential DNA of the first flowering of hard bop in the late '50s. All the genre hallmarks are present: There are intricate chase-scene originals and clever arrangements (the standard "Close Your Eyes") and brash blues-inflected outbursts that light up the solos. And yet, transcending those individual traits, defining not just the notes but the very spirit of the endeavor, is a quality that doesn't get discussed enough in jazz—precision, as in persnickety dotted i's and crossed t's. At times it's downright startling hearing these five musicians nail the details to the wall. They're hardly "just coolin'" here; they're attentive to the small nuances of tunes that might have been written the morning of the session. You can detect the commitment in the pitch-bending doiiiits and the staccato single-note jabs, in the explosion of a long-cresting press roll and the deliberate, nothing-extra stride of a Blakey-trademarked medium-tempo swing. You can hear it in the way trumpeter Lee Morgan and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley phrase together, adding grace notes that are almost inaudible but key nonetheless. And you can't miss it in the thrillingly open lanes where the solos happen. Blakey was revered for the communication he cultivated between musicians; using a repertoire of hits and jabs, he pulled his collaborators into rich, sometimes boisterous discussions, a mode of interplay that in many ways defines hard bop. There are plenty of examples on this record, but perhaps the most crystalline comes during Morgan's first few choruses on "Jimerick," a blazing uptempo blues. He begins with a short inversion of the theme, first restating it in a lazy way. Then he articulates more aggressively, as though trying to establish consensus on the tempo. Blakey picks that up, and jabs out an even sharper response from the metal rim of the snare drum. That unleashes some mean Morgan double-time bebop; what began as a single-note bugle call becomes an intricate conversation. Each element of that conversation is notable for its clarity, and each new soloist contributes to it in a different way—check the unhurried, wonderfully lucid way Mobley carves up the opening "Hipsippy Blues." The tune is one of three originals Mobley wrote for the date, and if it's familiar that's because it was included on a monumental live recording captured a few months later—At the Jazz Corner of the World, a fiery and complex document that's become part of the "essential listening" jazz canon. Just Coolin', which is apparently the only other recording of this short lived incarnation of the group, might be a step below that in terms of intensity. But only a step. © Tom Moon/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

Moanin' includes some of the greatest music Blakey produced in the studio with arguably his very best band. There are three tracks that are immortal and will always stand the test of time. The title selection is a pure tuneful melody stewed in a bluesy shuffle penned by pianist Bobby Timmons, while tenor saxophonist Benny Golson's classy, slowed "Along Came Betty" and the static, militaristic "Blues March" will always have a home in the repertoire of every student or professional jazz band. "Are You Real?" has the most subtle of melody lines, and "Drum Thunder Suite" has Blakey's quick blasting tom-tom-based rudiments reigning on high as the horns sigh, leading to hard bop. "Come Rain or Come Shine" is the piece that commands the most attention, a highly modified, lilting arrangement where the accompanying staggered, staccato rhythms contrast the light-hearted refrains. Certainly a complete and wholly satisfying album, Moanin' ranks with the very best of Blakey and what modern jazz offered in the late '50s and beyond. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

Perhaps the best known and most loved of Art Blakey's works, The Big Beat is a testament to the creative progress of one of the best jazz drummers of all time. Now over 40 years old, The Big Beat is as thunderous as ever. Here, Blakey combines his rhythm with tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter's brilliant composing to make what could only be termed a "structurally raw" album. Each track rips through bebop as quickly as Blakey ripped through drum heads. "Dat Dere" and "Lester Left Town" stand out as part of the true canons for hot jazz. Two alternate versions of "It's Only a Paper Moon" round out the album, both brimming with the fluid integrity of the song and the drive only Blakey could provide. As one of the few drummers to step out and lead, not just play backup, Blakey created a true jazz treasure in The Big Beat. © Christopher Fielder /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Blue Note Records

This set collects both installments of Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers' Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World (1961) in a comprehensive two-CD compendium, sporting thoroughly remastered sound by legendary jazz producer/engineer Rudy Van Gelder. Audio-conscious consumers should be aware of the distortion that somewhat marred the original vinyl, as well as all subsequent pressings. Unfortunately, it seems to have been inherent in the master tapes. While it occasionally reveals itself during the more dynamic contrasts and passages, the combo's swinging bop and sheer musicality outweigh any and all anomalies. Birdland (aka "the jazz corner of the world") produced some of Art Blakey's (drums) most revered live recordings. In addition to these volumes, enthusiasts are equally encouraged to locate the genre-defining A Night at Birdland (1954). For the Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World sides, listeners fast-forward six years to Blakey's latest quintet, which includes the respective talents of Lee Morgan (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Bobby Timmons (piano), and Jymie Merritt (bass) -- all of whom are solidly grounded to Blakey's firm yet profound backbeat. The lyrical performance style that began to emerge from Shorter in the early to mid-'60s can be heard developing during his tenure as a Jazz Messenger. He contrasts Morgan's limber and lilting solos and improvisations, which are especially notable on "'Round About Midnight" and the spirited "The Breeze and I." The latter title also allows Timmons the opportunity to stretch out and motivate the melody. "High Modes" showcases Merritt's pulsating and hypnotic basslines as he weaves a smoky groove beneath Morgan and Shorter's scintillating leads. In addition to "High Modes," this set features two more Hank Mobley compositions. The syncopated and infectiously rhythmic "Night Watch" is highlighted by Shorter, as he begins to fully grasp his improvisational skills that seem to materialize right before the keen-eared listener. He is quickly developing into the undaunted instrumentalist who would revolutionize modern jazz with Miles Davis in the mid-'60s. The set concludes with a rousing rendition of Shorter's "The Summit," which became a comparable standard for this version of the Jazz Messengers. Once again the lines fly fast and furious between Shorter and Morgan, with Timmons securely anchoring the soloists to the equally involved rhythm section. The 2002 reissue includes a newly inked essay from jazz historian Bob Blumenthal as well as reproductions of Leonard Feather's original sleeve notes. The sheer volume of releases by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers arguably makes this set somewhat obscured by the plethora of similarly classic live platters. However, the 2002 complete Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World would be a welcome addition to the library of most any jazz lover. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 1, 1963 | Blue Note Records

Arguably the finest lineup of the Jazz Messengers (with the possible exception of the Lee Morgan edition), this incarnation of the band -- Blakey, saxophonist Wayne Shorter (here playing tenor), young trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist Cedar Walton, and bassist Jymie Merritt -- set the tone for the hard bop movement of the '60s. This release features six classic modern-jazz icons and four alternate takes. Starting with Shorter's "Backstage Sally," the band jump into a happy, staccato horn chart and the groove-style shuffle that was their signature sound. Shorter's tenor-led ballad "Contemplation" finds the brassmen solidly behind him as he unleashes a breathtaking solo, while the Fuller-penned "Bu's Delight" is a supersonic hard bopper featuring Blakey's cage-rattling drum breaks and a formidable Walton solo. Written and led by Shorter, "Reincarnation Blues" is another good swinger, with counterpoint and unison lines sprinkled in together. The stunner of the set is Walton's "Shaky Jake," a low, moaning melody with deep-blue harmony soaring over a groove shuffle. On "Moon River," a frisky bopper featuring substantial solos from Hubbard and Fuller and a joyous arrangement modified from the original blue waltz, the song's staggered phrases are introduced and interrupted by drum breaks. The second takes of "Moon River" and "Backstage Sally" are fairly close to the first takes, while the alternate versions of "Reincarnation Blues" and "Bu's Delight" run one to two minutes shorter than the originals. Overall, you won't find a better representation of what modern mainstream jazz sounds like. Blakey and his band are on it from start to finish. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Blue Note Records

Lee Morgan once again became part of the Jazz Messengers after replacing Freddie Hubbard, who left after replacing Morgan originally. The band is rounded out by pianist Cedar Walton, a steaming Wayne Shorter on tenor, Curtis Fuller on trombone, and bassist Reggie Workman with Art Blakey on the skins, of course. Indestructible is a hard-blowing blues 'n' bop date with Shorter taking his own solos to the outside a bit, and with Blakey allowing some of Fuller's longer, suite-like modal compositional work into the mix as well ("The Egyptian" and "Sortie"). There are plenty of hard swinging grooves-- an off-Latin funk à la Morgan's "Calling Miss Kadija," Shorter's killer "Mr. Jin," and Walton's ballad-cum-post-bop sprint "When Love Is New" -- and the Blakey drive is in full effect, making this album comes closest in feel to the Moanin' sessions with Bobby Timmons. Here the balance of soul groove and innovative tough bop are about equal. Morgan lends great intensity to this date by being such a perfect foil for Shorter, and their trading of fours and eights in "Sortie" is one of the disc's many high points. Morgan's bluesed-out modal frame is already in evidence here as he was beginning to stretch beyond the parameters of the 12-bar frame and into music from other spaces and times. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Bebop - Released November 29, 1994 | Columbia - Legacy

The very first edition of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers was unfortunately short-lived, and as excellent as they were collectively, it was the beginning of a trend for the members of this group to come and go. Unbeknown to Blakey at the time, he would become a champion for bringing talent from the high minor leagues to full-blown jazz-star status, starting with this band featuring Detroit trumpeter Donald Byrd, East coast tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, and pianist Horace Silver, a jazz legend ever after. It's evident that although there is much cohesion in the group, Byrd's star was on the rise the fastest, and he would leave shortly, replaced briefly by Clifford Brown, then Kenny Dorham. What is most remarkable in this first recording for the band is how several of these selections have become classic hard bop vehicles, revered and replayed by thousands of bands worldwide. "Nica's Dream" is the best known of them all, typical of the calypso beats Blakey favored at the time, with a singsong, hummable melody led by Byrd that is pure soul personified and drenched in unrequited blues. Their take of "The End of a Love Affair" is one of those arrangements that would be hard to top, filled with deft rhythm changes and a distinctive group signature sound identified by the Mobley-Byrd tandem. "Ecaroh" ("Horace" spelled backwards) keeps the Latin beat but puts in a breezier context, a simple beauty of a tune only the pianist and Blakey could have conceived, and called their own at the time. "Infra Rae" is a quintessential hard bop workout, and "Hank's Symphony," while not a classic, is innovative in that it uses an Asian-inspired introduction, an Afro-Cuban base, and a force like a wild hurricane via Blakey's fast, inspired, cut-loose drumming. In retrospect, the Jazz Messengers could easily be tagged the eighth wonder of the world, starting with this finely crafted first effort that definitely stands the test of time. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Blue Note Records

The final recording by this edition of The Jazz Messengers (featuring trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Bobby Timmons, bassist Jymie Merritt and drummer/leader Art Blakey) finds the group consolidating their year-and-a-half of experience into yet another exciting document. Blakey's unaccompanied drum feature on "The Freedom Rider" is full of drama while the rest of the program (two compositions apiece by Morgan and Shorter) makes this last chapter for this particular band quite memorable. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Blue Note Records

Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers hit their artistic peak with the powerful A Night in Tunisia. This incarnation of the group included Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons, and Jymie Merritt along with their leader, Blakey. As the Messengers entered their most fruitful period for Blue Note, Blakey drove his men relentlessly with powerful grooves, heavy swinging, and shouts of encouragement. This session documents the full power of his assertive leadership and the masterful playing of his sidemen, each rising to legendary status under his tutelage. Long known for their creative arrangements within the context of small-group jazz, the Messengers push the definition of hard bop and blues to the limit here. Dizzy Gillespie's title track is evidence enough of the creative power of this group: Blakey's steam shovel-like mambo, Morgan and Shorter's wailing solos, and a dramatic ending make for a stunning piece. Shorter's contribution includes the swinging "Sincerely Diana." The soulful Bobby Timmons presents his delightful "So Tired," a bluesy number in the spirit of his classic "Dat Dere." Also included are Lee Morgan's smoky "Yama," the bouncing "Kozo's Waltz," and the classic "When Your Lover Has Gone." © TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Blue Note Records

This is Art Blakey's early period Jazz Messengers featuring trumpeter Kenny Dorham, saxophonist Hank Mobley, bassist Doug Watkins, and pianist Horace Silver. This first volume of live performance from the Cafe Bohemia in New York City circa late 1955 is a rousing set of hard bop by the masters who signified its sound, and expanded on the language of modern jazz. There are three bonus CD tracks not on the original LP that further emphasize not only the inherent power of Blakey's band and drumming, but demarcate the simplicity of melodic statements that were a springboard for the fantastic soloing by these individuals who would follow those tuneful lines. Dorham is responsible for this edict, as he contributes three of the selections, including the staccato-accented melody of "Minor's Holiday" primed by a thumping intro via Blakey, "Prince Albert" with its by now classic and clever reharmonization of "All the Things You Are," and the perennial closer of every set "The Theme," with its brief repeat melody and powerhouse triple-time bop break. Mobley wrote the scattered melody of "Deciphering the Message," heard here at length for the first time, although it was later available in its original shortened studio form on the reissued Columbia CD Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers. The tenor man gets his feature on the quarter-speed slowed ballad version of "Alone Together," which altogether sounds pining and blue to the nth degree. Standards like Fletcher Henderson's "Soft Winds" seemed merely a simple and lengthy warmup tune, but Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird" is an absolute workout, with variations abounding on the intro, first and second run-throughs of the melody, and some harmonic twists. Watkins is featured on the lead line of "What's New?," which again combines melancholy with that slightest spark of hope. If this is indeed in chronological order as a first set from the November 13, 1955 performances, it wets the whistle and leaves the listener wanting more, knowing the best is yet to come. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | Blue Note Records

Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers of 1959 were hitting their full stride, as trumpeter Lee Morgan joined the fold with tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, the reliable pianist Bobby Timmons and steady bassist Jymie Merritt. Recorded live at New York's City's Birdland aka the "Jazz Corner of the World," this double-CD set reissued of two Blue Note LPs represents four 20-minute sets of this incredible band at their best, and in their element. Mixing up standards and favored originals from peer group composers, the band is, in the vernacular of the era, cooking. Introductions by the legendary M.C. Pee Wee Marquette precede the ultra-cool blues shuffle "Hipsippy Blues," as Morgan and Mobley sing beautifully through their horns in delightful unison. "Chicken an' Dumplins" is one of the hip, cool, chatty, and clipped melodies that will be memorable and hummable 'til jazz do us part. The theme "Art's Revelation" in a minor key has Jewish elements and a solid swing base where Blakey constantly switches up rhythms, but not the tempo. The fast hard bop theme "M & M" defines the genre and the era, while "Just Coolin'" is depicted as a foxtrot, but in hot, hard swinging trim. Several standards include a great read of Randy Weston's "Hi-Fly" with a pristine intro and Mobley's wonderful harmonic interpretation. Thelonious Monk's "Justice" (better known in later years as "Evidence") fully exploits the written pedal point stop-start theme, while the languid "Close Your Eyes" has modal piano and horn inserts further enhancing this sweet tune. You also get a short and stouter version of "The Theme," the former with Marquette's announcing. When Mobley left and Wayne Shorter joined this ensemble, they hit their peak of performance, but this band was as definitive a modern jazz ensemble as there ever was, and the immaculately chosen repertoire elevates this to one of the greatest live jazz session ever, and belongs on the shelf of all serious jazz listeners. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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