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Art Blakey: The Teacher, July 6, 2002

At the Cafe Bohemia Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers - At The Cafe Bohemia Vol.1 Remastered available on March 03 2015 from Base for 5.59
Art Blakey: Of course, the album is great, and the leader is even more precious. Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers has always been a name most recognized when new stars were about to emerge on the jazz scene; most of the time they got their recognition while playing with the jazz messengers. That is not to say that they were not top notch; but with Blakey as their teacher, they were usually ready to lead their own groups after a stint with the messengers. Art Blakey, a masterful drummer with a style that was not easily copied, stood out among his peers and so did his hard-driving messengers, which made him such a respected teacher. He gave a lot of guys an opportunity, and jazz is better for it today.

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In 1955, Art Blakey after the success of his all star pick up group at Birdland the previous year with the legendary trumpeter Clifford Brown, the Charlie Parker influenced, blusier edged alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson, Horace Silver on piano and bassist Curly Russell, the drummer decided to form a more permanent band "The Jazz Messengers". The first true working band edition featured a number of then bright young stars such as Kenny Dorham on trumpet, a very overlooked but excellent hardbop player, Hank Mobley on tenor sax, Silver again on piano and Doug Watkins on bass who was one of the finest bassists on the NY scene at the time by way of detroit, and cousin of Paul Chambers. Blakey and the Jazz Messengers were caught live on November 23, 1955 at the Cafe Bohemia in a night of music that resulted in a pair of Blue Note albums and a third volume of unreleased material(which is included on these new reissues) only released in Japan.
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Those were Horace Silver's words describing the horn section of the 1st edition of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Kenny Dorham and Hank Mobley weren't the flashiest players, and they were overlooked in the era of Miles and Clifford and Sonny and Trane. But they were also gifted improvisers and composers, as the Bohemia recordings clearly show. Kenny was more boppish than Miles but definitely a middle-register trumpeter; while Hank had a mellow, soulful sound perfect for hard bop. Add the tireless drums of Blakey and the blues-drenched piano of Horace Silver, and you've got a winning combo. This is the same lineup that recorded the classic album Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers about a year earlier; but there aren't any Silver compositions on either volume of the Bohemia recordings.
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Art Blakey: Of course, the album is great, and the leader is even more precious. Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers has always been a name most recognized when new stars were about to emerge on the jazz scene; most of the time they got their recognition while playing with the jazz messengers. That is not to say that they were not top notch; but with Blakey as their teacher, they were usually ready to lead their own groups after a stint with the messengers. Art Blakey, a masterful drummer with a style that was not easily copied, stood out among his peers and so did his hard-driving messengers, which made him such a respected teacher. He gave a lot of guys an opportunity, and jazz is better for it today.
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