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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
The Jazz Messengers
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$4.99+ Free shipping (Addon item)

on July 14, 2013
The Jazz Messengers were to jazz what the Yardbirds were to rock: the band was a launching pad for numerous famous players such as Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter. This incarnation of the JM has Donald Byrd and Hank Mobley, so it's not the most famous, but they play up a storm. The recording is pretty decent too.There's also a really classic absolutely kick-ass drum solo by Blakey. Blakey was the type who could actually get people to listen to a 45 minute drum solo. Asked to describe Blakey as a drummer, Tony Williams said "he'll groove you to death." If you're feeling suicidal, why not go by grooving rather than swallowing a bunch of aspirin?
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VINE VOICEon May 2, 2006
I had collected over 20 sides by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers before recently noticing this 1956 release on Columbia. It's second to none--a recording that captures the then nascent Messengers at their zenith but also sets a standard approached by very few other quintets. Maybe Miles--but one would be hard pressed to find a tighter, fuller, more expressive ensemble together with more lyrical, inspired solos. The presence of Doug Watkins' bass merely clinches the deal.

Donald Byrd has never sounded better to me, demonstrating why this Detroit preacher's kid is said to have caused such a stir when he made his initial appearances. He almost matches the ceaseless invention and flowing lyricism of Hank Mobley, who is simply untouchable on the date. Despite the breathless tempo of Hank's "Infra-Rae," the saxophonist is utterly relaxed and in control. Another Mobley original, "Late Show" (aka "Hank's Other Tune"), features an inspired, authoritative tenor solo that I doubt Hank himself or any other tenor saxophonist has ever topped.

As for the ensemble choruses, listen to the two horns on Silver's "Ecarole," and you'll wonder why Blakey ever expanded to a sextet--or, for that matter, why some listeners miss big bands. The shadings, dynamics, nuanced textures--the expressive colors that are missing on most of the flattened acoustics of the Blue Note recordings--they're all here. This is a "musician's record." After listening to this edition of the group and this recording, I doubt I could force myself to play the "highly funkified," popular but overrated "Moanin'" session again or, for that matter, Silver's formulaic and stiff "Song for My Father" session. Even the Blue Note recording of Horace's lovely "Nica's Dream" pales when compared to the rich and evocative treatment it receives on this earlier version of the tune.

There are twelve rich and varied tunes on the disc--a couple of standards plus a generous supply of vintage Silver and, especially, Mobley contributions. (If you find a CD with more music for the price, I'll refund your money.) The original liner notes by George Avakian are supplemented by detailed, informative descriptions of the music on the record by drummer Kenny Washington.

Shame on Columbia/Sony if it gets lazy about promoting this edition--or the American public, if it allows such a treasure to languish in the archives.
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on July 26, 2010
This CD was ordered by mistake. The LP was lost in '94, recouped about '05, and has been here ever since. It is a definate "Should Have" for connoisseurs of that ol' bebop magic that Art Blakey weaves so well. With Hank Mobley and Donald Byrd, two consumate hard bop jammers, out front, Mobley's "Infra-Rae" is off and (yes) jammin'. Excellent solos, backed by Silver. Horace's beautiful classic tribute to the lady P, "Nica's Dream", is next. Notice how he keeps the mood going behind everybody, including his own brilliant solo. Byrd, then Mobley, bring "You Or No One" out, in front of a hard-swinging Doug Watkins, who is strong throughout. This is a hot jam! Silver's "Ecaroh" opens side 2. He just writes great stuff, period. Swinging solos by Mobley, Byrd, himself, interjections from Art. This is a cool jam! Mobley's "Carol's Interlude" has everybody cookin'. Art's work, here, almost defies description. Notice the Sonny Rollins influence on Mobley on "Love Affair" (and elsewhere), as he, Byrd and Silver 'smoke' out in front of Watkins and Blakey. "Hanks Symphony" has everbody doing the Mambo, until Art Blakey busts out with one of the sharpest, most intense drum solos ever heard. This is a very good set to have, especially while Amazon is still "giving" it away. (joke)
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on January 5, 2017
The real deal. This is jazz before it became a commodity in the 60's. Intelligent, tasteful, everyone concentrating on the sound. Reminds of the early Armstrong small groups. A bargain with the extra tracks.
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on June 1, 2013
This is a 77 minute release of some exceptionally fine jazz by an all time great artist. It lets us hear music from over 40+ years ago made by some very talented musicians. Jazz is not always my first choice for an evening of listening but this is a really fine collection of songs. I did not have anything by Art Blakey before this was recommended to me but I will now be gathering more of his releases.
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on August 31, 2016
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on November 4, 2013
This is an awesome CD, with great Jazz music by great artist! this is why I chose this CD for my collection! Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers were outstanding!
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on May 15, 2014
Art Blakey and the Jazz messengers represent early jazz music when it was becoming fusion and going off into the other space world!
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on July 14, 2015
To say this is a classic quintet is an understatement.
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on February 4, 2017
Art Blakey was a great drummer and musician, and leader of great musicians. This is a fine standard album to own.
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