Jazz Icons: Art Blakey Live in '65
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Jazz Icons: Art Blakey - Live In '65
Jazz Icons: Art Blakey boasts an exceptional one-hour concert by Art Blakey from Paris in 1965. This performance showcases one of the few undocumented Blakey bands, the New Jazzmen, featuring the incomparable Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, as well as Jaki Byard on piano, Reggie Workman on bass, Nathan Davis on sax and, of course, Art Blakey on drums truly a powerhouse quintet!
Freddie Hubbard's incendiary playing on 'Blue Moon' and the blistering 24-minute version of his own 'Crisis,' serves as a cogent reminder that was one of the most innovative trumpeters in jazz history.
The release of the fourth installment of the Jazz Icons series now brings it up to 30 separate DVDs and over 40 hours of vintage jazz performances, making this the most comprehensive music DVD series of any genre. Reelin' In The Years who produced the Jazz Icons series are also responsible for the Grammy-nominated American Folk Blues Festival series, the multi-platinum selling Definitive Motown series (Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles) and the British Invasion series (Small Faces, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Dusty Springfield, and Herman's Hermits.) As in all of their projects, each DVD is produced with the full support and cooperation of the artists or their estates.
Art Blakey was known to be an incubator of hard bop musicians. He led his own ever-changing roster of jazz musicians in his group, The Jazz Messengers, from the 1950s until 1990. A veritable who's who of jazz stardom began their careers with tutelage from Blakey. Here is just a small sampling: Benny Golson, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Curtis Fuller, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Timmons, Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham, and Cedar Walton.
Occasionally, Blakey would lead groups between periods in which he was reforming new editions of the Jazz Messengers. Such is the case with the group presented in one of the fourth edition of Jazz Icons DVDs being introduced this month. Blakey called this group The New Jazzmen. During the fall of 1965, Art was touring Europe with this new short-lived group, as part of a tour that included an all star grouping of Earl Hines, Gerry Mulligan, Roy Eldridge, Stuff Smith, Jimmy Woode, and Kenny Clarke.
What made this group unusual was the inclusion of Jaki Byard on piano. Byard was more of an avantgarde pianist than the usual swing and blues-based pianists that Blakey hired for the Jazz Messengers. The other major difference with this aggregation was the fact that the Jazzmen played more extended versions of compositions than Blakey's Jazz Messengers were known for. Two tracks on this DVD (both Freddie Hubbard penned): The Hub, and Crisis, take up two-thirds of the hour concert.
The Paris concert turned out to be a showcase for Hubbard. Though the European based Nathan Davis, on tenor, has his strong solo moments, and the rhythm section is rock solid with Byard being especially restrained, Freddie is clearly the centerpiece here. He had begun his prolific Blue Note solo career five years earlier, and was primed for his Jazz Messenger period with a combination of brashness, and sheer power, combined with lyrical sweetness on ballads (Blue Moon). With the exception of Lee Morgan, Hubbard was at the top of the heap of hard bop trumpeters in 1965.
At the Paris concert, Nathan Davis blows hot on Crisis (at twenty four minutes, there is room for all to stretch out), but once Freddie digs in, he owns the stage. For fans of Mr. Hubbard, purchase of this Jazz Icons DVD is a must-have for the chance to experience Freddie "live" on video at his most virile. Both the black and white video and the acoustics are passable - but it's the archival value that makes this DVD noteworthy. -- Audiophile Audition, Jeff Krow, October 27, 2009
Top customer reviews
-audio is good quality, not excellent
-personnel: art blakey (d), freddie hubbard (t), nathan davis (ts), jaki byard (p), reggie workman (b)
-this video is most remarkable for revealing trumpeter freddie hubbard (27 yo) showing his amazing technique, improvisational skills and writing;
freddie's performance on blue moon recalls clifford brown who also played with art
-the only thing better than this video would to have heard it in person and this music will never be heard again other than video
~ When Art recorded or performed with established editions of the Jazz Messengers the musicians were told how long each solo could last; however, in the case of this temporary band no such limitations were imposed. There are two consequences that result from this difference: The first is that the soloists play as long as they have something new to say (thus, only four tunes in the span of one hour). The second consequence is that Blake does not provide his usual arc of dynamics behind the soloists; instead he simply provides the drive and the colour behind each soloist. The exception to this is that Art takes a hands-off role in support of Jaki Byard because he had no idea where Byard was going next in developing his solo.
~ Indeed, one of the things that makes this group unusual is the inclusion of Jaki Byard on piano. Byard was more of an avantgarde or outside pianist than the usual swing and blues-based pianists that Blakey hired for the Jazz Messengers. The unpredictability of Byard forced Art to assume a less commanding role during Byard's solos.
~ The real star of the show here is Freddie Hubbard, who composed "The Hub" and "Crisis", which take up two-thirds of the hour concert. His solos on these two tunes and on "Blue Moon" are reminders of just how innovative and great Hubbard was in the 1960's.
~ In addition to Hubbard, tenor man Nathan Davis offers some strong solo moments, especially on "Crisis". The rhythm section with Reggie Workman is rock solid with Byard being rather restrained compared to his well-known work as leader and with other more aggressive bands.
~ Sound quality is acceptable. Cinematography is good. The 19-page insert booklet is informative and adds to the value of the DVD.
~ Highly recommended as an exciting documentation of an Art Blakey band that you will not hear anywhere else. Especially recommended for Freddie Hubbard fans.
Drummer ART BLAKEY is a congenial host, almost in stand-up mode during the band intros, as he lays down the groove behind stellar players. Once again, Blakey's unerring sense for picking the best serves him well here. Freddie Hubbard gets center stage for stunning workouts like their abstract take on "Blue Moon". He's so formidable on that one it will make even the most seasoned player rethink their game. But Nathan Davis is no slouch; his tenor sax is there move for move with plenty of dance of his own. Having the compressed history of jazz piano in Jaki Byard doesn't hurt either, though Blakey was reportedly thrown a bit by his mercurial tempos. Strangely, this was an ad hoc conglomeration to fulfill a tour, but the unexpected rewards are ours to savor.
Simple. Video gets a pass because I'm imagining they shot this for TV. I don't think they were using Bell & Howell Cinemagraphic film cans in here.
Audio, yes could be better. One commenter on here mentioned it's good for its day or audio wasn't great back then so its understandable. Actually, AMAZING portable recorders existed, just listen to Miles Davis Plugged Nickel box set from Christmas Weekend in a small Chicago club, 1965. Recorded over a series of nights (2 or 3?) and it's stupid-clear. All tones are there, and the freakin' glassware being collected from the cocktail tables shimmers in your ear as they're recording.
So yeah, I'm just gonna chalk it up to that 20 years wasn't enough time to recover from the biggest war in history (JK!) let's face it
if it was in London, Finland (Zappa Helsink 73!!) Sweden or Germany it would've been marvelous! It's just not a nation known for audiophilia, with all due respect to Italy. OR...no amount of baking could bring back the old originals as it just took too long to get them out of storage and remastered. Maybe it was the way they were stored? Was the Audio piggybaked into the film reel? That would explain an awful lot.
But considering how utterly RARE footage is, (you could count Blakey video performances on one of 2 hands??) it's so remarkably valuable. Even the long intro..lol because you see their mannerisms, the way they walk, the gentile, the culture, the crowds acceptance...MUCH warmer and hip than the square in the Belgium show of 58!