This is truly one of the great classics of hard bop, with drummer Art Blakey leading arguably his greatest Jazz Messengers lineup through a driving program that never lets up. Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson
(whose composition "Along Came Betty" is heard here, subsequently becoming a jazz classic), brilliant trumpeter Lee Morgan
, and funky pianist Bobby Timmons
(who wrote the hit title cut) each take some of the best solos of their great careers, and Blakey was never greater. No jazz record collection should be without this disc. It remains one of the premier items in Blue Note's catalog, and rightfully so. As part of Blue Note's 1999 60th anniversary celebration, original session producer Rudy Van Gelder's done a smash job remixing Moanin'
, adding warmth in the low end and far greater color across the spectrum. And the booklet opens like a gatefold LP with vintage black-and-white photos of the original session. --Skip Heller