Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers’s 10 Greatest Songs and Greatest Discs (Representative Songs and Hidden Masterpieces)

This time, I created a ranking of Art Blakey.

In selecting the songs, I kept the following two points in mind.

・Focus on the appeal of the song rather than the performance
・Don’t be biased toward passionate music.

We hope you will enjoy these great performances that can be called the royal road of jazz music.

This blog is an automatic translation of a Japanese blog into English.

Please understand that it may be difficult to read.

No.1「Split Kick」(Album:A Night at Birdland Vol. 1)


■Song Title:Split Kick
■Album Name:A Night at Birdland Vol. 1
■Video link:「Split Kick」

However, I would also like you to taste the enthusiasm that is the essence of Blakey.

This song is a prime example.

It is said that hard bop jazz started with this album.

It used to be played by some young jazzmen in a style called bebop.

Bebop was a style that had the thrill of improvisation, but was limited in its range of expression.

Hard bop, on the other hand, tried to slow down the tempo of the song more and enhance the musical expression.

In this piece, Lou Donaldson on alto sax and Clifford Brown on trumpet were trying to express a new kind of jazz.

This is the definitive masterpiece, the origin and the pinnacle of the music.


No.2「Are You Real」(Album:Moanin’)


■Song Title:Are You Real
■Album Name:Moanin’
■Video link:「Are You Real」

I did not have enough money to buy many jazz CDs until I was in high school.

It wasn’t until I was a college student that I was able to buy many jazz CDs.

This album is one of the few that I owned before high school.

Due to my youthful imprinting, no matter which of Blakey’s albums I listened to after that, I couldn’t believe that they were better than this one.

This time, I listened to the other albums again, and I still think this is the best.

It’s a good collection of songs.

However, I always skip “The Drum Thunder Suite”.

This song is my favorite of them all.


No.3「Children of the Night」(Album:Mosaic)


■Song Title:Children of the Night
■Album Name:Mosaic
■Video link:「Children of the Night」

When I first heard this album, I felt that it was a little different from the Blakey I knew.

At that time, the band was a three-man band with horns.

The members were as follows

Freddie Hubbard: Trumpet
Wayne Shorter: Tenor saxophone
Curtis Fuller: trombone

They are gorgeous members, but they have a cool charm that is a little different from before.

Cedar Walton on piano is also a hard bop pianist, but he is not the funky type.

I like this kind of cool blakey.


No.4「Like Someone in Love」(Album:Au Club St Germain, Vol.2)


■Song Title:Like Someone in Love
■Album Name:Au Club St Germain, Vol.2
■Video link:「Like Someone in Love」

This album is a bundle of hot air.

It is as popular as “A Night at Birdland” among their many live albums.

However, it is too long to listen to all the way through, so I don’t have many chances to listen to it again.

This time, when I listened to it more carefully, I realized that there were some good slow and medium songs as well.

One of my favorites is this song.

Bobby Timmons’ piano in the intro and the horn section of Lee Morgan and Benny Golson make for a relaxing performance.

However, my favorite part of the song is Bobby Timmons’ piano solo at 7:17.

I sometimes listen back to that part over and over just to hear this soulful piano.


No.5「Pensativa」(Album:Free for All)


■Song Title:Pensativa
■Album Name:Free for All
■Video link:「Pensativa」

The title track of this album is one of Blakey’s most popular songs, full of enthusiasm.

Art Blaykey – Free For All

But this time, I chose “Pensativa”.

This song is like “Recado Bossa Nova” by Hank Mobley.

Blakey doesn’t seem to be a good fit for Bossa Nova, but he plays it surprisingly well!

Unlike Miles Davis, Blakey is not the type to force his vision on the members.

Rather, he is the type of person who tries to absorb the members’ opinions and encourage them.

In this song, he is devotedly supporting a bossa nova project that his subordinate brought to him.

He is the number one jazzman you want as your boss.


No.6「Along Came Betty」(Album:Moanin’)


■Song Title:Along Came Betty
■Album Name:Moanin’
■Video link:「Along Came Betty」

This song was written by Benny Golson.

Benny Golson is not highly regarded as a saxophonist.

However, his ability as a music director is highly regarded.

This song was also written by him, as well as other famous songs such as “Whisper Not,” which has become a jazz standard.

His harmonies are known as “Golson harmonies”.

The beginning of this song is a typical example, but he also does a good job with the arrangement in the second half.

In some places, he added Blakey’s “Niagara Roll” to show off the boss.

This man was a very good strategist.


No.7「Off the Wal」(Album:A Night in Tunisia)


■Song Title:Off the Wal
■Album Name:A Night in Tunisia
■Video link:「Off the Wal」

If you buy a lot of CDs, have you ever bought the same CD twice?

I have.

You think you know what you’re doing, but you’re wrong.

When I bought this CD, there was a reversal from there.

In other words, I thought I had bought the same CD by mistake, but then I found out that it was a different album, and I was relieved.

Heaven, hell, and then heaven, I guess.

Blakey has two albums called “A Night in Tunisia”.

The one not on this album is generally more famous, and there is also a great performance called “So Tired” on that album.

Incidentally, this time also features three tubes, but the members are different from those mentioned above.

Bill Hardman: trumpet
Johnny Griffin: tenor saxophone
Jackie McLean: alto saxophone

This song is not particularly famous, but I like the melody of this song.




■Song Title:Moanin’
■Album Name:Moanin’
■Video link:「Moanin’」

In terms of fame, this is one of the most popular songs by Blakey.

Whenever he is mentioned, it seems to be usually when a player from his band becomes famous.

Blakey is not the type of innovator in jazz.

I think he is a good field director.

But he was still playing old-fashioned hard bop even in the heyday of fusion.

He may be a man of single-minded craftsmanship.

After the disappointing 1970’s, he brought in a genius named Wynton Marsalis to join his band and showed that he was still going strong in his later years.

Please enjoy the representative songs of the stubborn father who devoted himself to single-minded jazz.


No.9「Gone with the Wind」(Album:At the Cafe Bohemia, Vol. 2)


■Song Title:Gone with the Wind
■Album Name:At the Cafe Bohemia, Vol. 2
■Video link:「Gone with the Wind」

At that time, Kenny Dorham and Hank Mobley were the two unassuming front men.

With all due respect, they lacked luster, bounce, and sharpness in some respects.

However, they played with a real sense of taste.

Hard bop music doesn’t need the genius inspiration of bebop.

It doesn’t need to be so unique.

Many jazz fans find a little joy in listening to similar layers and distinguishing the slight differences between them.

In that sense, this album concentrates the charm of hard bop.


No.10「Obirin African」(Album:The African Beat)


■Song Title:Obirin African
■Album Name:The African Beat
■Video link:「Obirin African」

Finally, I’ll cover a slightly different song.

This person has released several albums of ethnic music.

The label is Blue Note Records, but this song is not jazz.

Blue Note also has other non-jazz albums such as “Palo Congo” by Sabu Martinez.

The flute player on this song is Yusef Lateef.

He is a player with a bit of a strange sensibility.

This song could be a kind of wild lounge music.

When I heard this performance, I thought it was different from the Blakey I knew.

But this kind of Blakey is good, too.

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