On this date in 1919, the great drummer Art Blakey was born I’ve only become an Art Blakey fan in the last several years. The happened because many, many times, when I was listening to jazz on the radio I’d hear something great that had some fine drums on it and then when the song was over I’d hear that it was Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers!! So I decided that I better check out their music and now several of Blakey’s albums are in my music library!! So before we hear some music, let;s find out a little more about the man from Wikipedia:
Arthur “Art” Blakey (October 11, 1919 – October 16, 1990), known later as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina, was an American Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer and bandleader. Along with Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, he was one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming. He is known as a powerful musician and a vital groover; his brand of bluesy, funky hard bop was and continues to be profoundly influential on mainstream jazz. For more than 30 years his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, included many young musicians who went on to become prominent names in jazz. The band’s legacy is thus not only known for the music it produced, but as a proving ground for several generations of jazz musicians; Blakey’s groups are matched only by those of Miles Davis in this regard. Blakey was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame[disambiguation needed] (in 1982), the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 2001), and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.Continue Reading
Now I could use many different songs and there are several that you can check out on YouTube. But I decided to look for some music that was Blakey and Thelonious Monk together, since it was Monk; birthday yesterday I decided to go with something from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk, which was released in 1958 and has a four star review at AllMusic.com. From Lindsay Planer’s review:
Most of the titles on this album are derived from Thelonious Monk’s vast catalog of bop standards. Both co-leaders are at the peak of their respective prowess with insightful interpretations of nearly half a dozen inspired performances from this incarnation of the Blakey-led Jazz Messengers. This combo features Art Blakey (drums), Johnny Griffin (tenor sax), Bill Hardman (trumpet), and Spanky Debrest (bass). Immediately, Hardman ups the ante with a piledriving lead during “Evidence” that underscores the heavy-hitting nature of this particular jazz confab. Monk counters with some powerful and inspired runs that are sonically splintered by the enthusiastic — if not practically percussive — chord progressions and highly logistic phrasings from the pianist. The inherent melodic buoyancy on “In Walked Bud” contains a springboard-like quality, with Griffin matching Monk’s bounce measure for measure. Griffin’s incessant efforts create a freshness to the tune that often escapes other less. Read More
So I send a Happy Birthday to Art Blakey and a belated Happy Birthday to Monk. I hope you guys are still jamming somewhere!! Maybe with “Sweets”! inspired readings.