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CJ Shearn

underrated Jazz Messengers discs

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While I just received the "Jazz Messengers" on Columbia CD the other day, out of the many Blakey discs I have this record is underrated, almost enjoy it better than some Blue Note dates from around that time. IMO, this disc has a fire and consistent groove level that is unlike any other Blakey I've heard, all it takes is everyone's single chorus on "Ecaroh" to realize how exciting and hip that Byrd/Mobley front line was in Art's band, wish they had recorded more. I even think that if a neophyte wanted to investigate the Messengers, this would be the place to start, concise tunes, great writing, playing and tight arrangements. I noticed during myt Jazz class that "A Night at Birdland" as much as we all dig it, when my professor discussed and played "Tunisia" off of it it seemed a lot of folks were overwhelmed by it, despite us talking about and listening bebop for a while. Maybe b/c those cats just barrel through with everything they got and then some. the Jazz Messengers on Columbia offers a bit of everything. Anyway I thought of some other Blakey's that are quite overlooked IMO.

At the Jazz Corner of the World: Lee and Hank........ always a potent team, the hot setting off with the cool. Wish there was more with Lee and Hank, Timmons/Merritt. Mobley's solos are consistently great on this. Mike, isn't there a rejected studio session by this edition in the can?

I'll type more later....... took a NyQuil liquigel, think I'm getting a cold. must sleep now

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"Like Someone In Love" is an excellent session (w/some great Shorter tunes) that doesn't seem to get mentioned a lot.

Also the two volumes from the early 70's, "Mission Eternal" and "Child's Dance" have some nice moments- one of my favorite is Woody Shaw's rendition of "I Can't Get Started".

One of my favorites, though, will always be "Big Beat"- Lee's solo on "Dat Dere" is a clinic in swing.

Oh yeah, Free For All's not bad either!

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"Gypsy Folk Tales" on Roulette is one that you don't hear a lot about. It's got some really great tunes and the lineup of Dennis Irwin, Dave Schnitter, Bobby Watson, Walter Davis and Valeri Ponomarev is as tight as you will ever hear.

Don't know its availability, but if you see it - get it! :tup

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Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers are so much affiliated with Blue Note that albums

they made for other labels tend to be overlooked.

The three records they made for Riverside (Caravan, Ugetsu, Kyoto) are not mentioned

often but they were made by the Messengers unit that fronted Freddie Hubbard,

Curtis Fuller and Wayne Shorter. The playing and the material was superb.

Those Messengers cooked!

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Also the two volumes from the early 70's, "Mission Eternal" and "Child's Dance" have some nice moments- one of my favorite is Woody Shaw's rendition of "I Can't Get Started".

I also like these two sessions. Woody Shaw has wonderful solos throughout.

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Just a heads-up to those who do vinyl archaeology - those two Prestige sides will be found as CHILD'S DANCE & ANTHENAGIN.

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Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers are so much affiliated with Blue Note that albums

they made for other labels tend to be overlooked.

The three records they made for Riverside (Caravan, Ugetsu, Kyoto) are not mentioned

often but they were made by the Messengers unit that fronted Freddie Hubbard,

Curtis Fuller and Wayne Shorter. The playing and the material was superb.

Those Messengers cooked!

Off of the album Caravan, the tune "Caravan".......flipped me when I first heard it....the Wayne Shorter arraingement. Caravan is a favorite tune for me to play, BUT, the way those cats play it on the Caravan CD.....dammit, I don't want to sound like some empty "fanboy" here, but goddam that is some of the hippest three horn arrainging of a Duke tune.

I know how the A sections are arrainged.....the bridge though....Freddie plays the melody and Wayne and Curtis play a counter line. A question for all: was this a line that Wayne came up with (and I think that it is) or is it derivative from something else?

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The United Artists LP 'Three Blind Mice Vol 1' is a fave, as is the previously mentioned Prestige 'Childs Dance'. The latter is one of the more unusual Blakey sessions, almost an attempt to update the music with tunes by Stanley Clarke. Woody Shaw, as mentioned, is an absolute ringer on 'Can't Get Started'.

'Ritual' on Pacific Jazz is another one that tends to be overlooked. I've always liked the interplay between Blakey, Hardman and McLean on this one, although the Duke Jordan 'Scotch Blues' does sound a bit of an oddity ;)

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Caravan is not Wayne Shorter's arrangement, it's by Freddie Hubbard. And it's the trombone who has the melody while trumpet and saxophone play that line, which is a completely original idea of Hubbard's.

Mike Mossman told me the story that when he was brand new to the band, Caravan was called and it had never been rehearsed or anything. The tune started and they were in the middle of the vamp when the veteran who was playing saxophone suddenly realized the implications of this situation. Petrified, he turned and said, "Do you know that line!?" Mike smiled and said, "I know that line." The moral of the story is: Be Prepared.

The Impulse version by Hubbard is very good also, with John Gilmore. But listen to how sloppy the horns are on the later Delos version is (Wallace Roney, Kenny Garrett, et al.). BTW, Mossman recorded that same arrangement with Kevin Mahogany on "Songs and Moments."

Mike

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I dig Africaine, and possibly play it more often because it hasn't been saturated into my brain.

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Three Blind Mice, and The Big Beat (even in it's current older CD incarnation) I definitely should get, there are a few holes that I need to fill. Other Blakey's I find worthwhile

Paris Jam Session: what a date........... Bud Powell with the Jazz Messengers, I never hear much about this date at all, Bud sounds in fine form, haven't heard as much of his playing as I'd like to, but at the time it was recorded, weren't his skills eroding from his terrible incident with a cop outside a club years earlier with Monk? and the addition of Wilen is nice. The jams are substantive and consistently hot.

The Freedom Rider: Lee and Wayne, great solos all over this one, and "Tell It Like It Is" is one of Wayne's hippest lines I ever heard, did he ever record or play this one again?

The second half of Drum Suite has some nice tunes, I will definitely pick up "Hard Bop" sometime. The McLean/Hardman version was as fine a band as any, perhaps a bit more workmanlike, but very solid. Hardman's smooth, rich, tone and Jackie's famous acidic, sharp alto make for an intriguing blend of tonal colors. Is "Nica's Tempo" a variation of "Nica's Dream"? sounds it to me. Midnight Session, (still have the old Savoy CD) is a similarly solid record with some nice playing.

Keystone 3: despite having our favorite target, in Wynton, I believe this is one of the finer late records that is in the Blakey cannon. Very spirited playing, and I love Bobby Watson's "Fuller Love" (or, "In Case You Missed It"), the horn voicings on the head are just nasty, as is that bridge. reminds me of a soul tune. Branford and Bill Pierce hint at some out playing in their solos that's pretty cool. This record was the 2nd one I heard with Pierce and he's become a player I enjoy very much, I wanna check out that record he made with Javon Jackson. Pierce's contributions are nice on Tony Williams' "Tokyo Live", his soprano sound is very much his own, I think, almost clarinet ish.. Bill "Two Saxophone" Pierce :D Wynton's "Waterfalls" cracks me up tho, with it's obvious ode to "Footprints".

Live At Kimball's is a good date as well from this period.

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Mike Mossman will be in D.C. next Friday at the Smithsonian's Imax Jazz Cafe, as a guest with the group Cu-bop.

Bertrand.

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The Olympia '61 discs are as good as it gets.

The Fresh Sound broadcasts they put out under Lee's name are pretty happening too.

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Gigi Gryce's "Nica's Tempo" (1955) has nothing to do with Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream" (1956), other than they are both dedicated to the same woman.

Bertrand, if you make that gig and speak to Mike, please say hello from me.

Mike

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Since they have not been mentioned yet, here goes:

Art Blakey and the 1958 Jazz Messengers at Club Saint-Germain. Three LPs on RCA

or 2 CD.

The Club was on fire!

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Does anybody have the OOP 3CD set on Blue Note 'The History of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers'? I saw this used for $20.00 and, in the absence of a more comprehensive Blue Note box, it seems to be the best overview available. Any thoughts would be welcome.

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Since they have not been mentioned yet, here goes:

Art Blakey and the 1958 Jazz Messengers at Club Saint-Germain. Three LPs on RCA

or 2 CD.

The Club was on fire!

I have these[on 3 Japanese cds]. Must admit that I liked the Jazz Messengers studio versions of the tunes better than this live material.

Also, why is Kenny Clarke's picture on the back cover? Liner notes don't mention him substituting for Blakey.

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Also, why is Kenny Clarke's picture on the back cover? Liner notes don't mention him substituting for Blakey.

Must admit I am prejudiced about those sessions. They're part of my early jazz

experiences and feel lucky I was at the Club Saint-Germain when they were recorded.

Kenny Clarke joined in at some point that evening. Know he is on 'Night in Tunisia'

along with African percussionist Gana M'Bow.

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Thanks, brownie.

It must've been something!

How old were you ?

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Always been partial to Ugetsu myself, which doesn't seem to get much attention. Maybe because it's not on the level of A Night At Birdland or Cafe Bohemia, nor does it have any drum solos. But the title track is eleven minutes of sheer beauty.

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Thanks, brownie.

It must've been something!

How old were you ?

I was barely 19 and wisely spending more time getting a jazz education than getting a

regular education.

That left me with great memories.

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I am also a big fan of The Freedom Rider and Olympia '61. Those two records can almost make you wish that Wayne had stayed with Art.

Almost.

Well, maybe not really "almost." But Wayne is absolutely on FIRE on both of these sets.

Edited by John L

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"Moanin'" has generally been ignored, but it's quite a good album.

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