Art Blakey's greatest legacy, aside from the numerous fantastic sessions and years of brilliant drumming, was his nurturing of embryonic talent. Every Messengers unit from his inaugural crew until the end contained skilled but inexperienced musicians whom Blakey helped turn into mature veterans. This early '80s edition included trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, a long way from his current status, plus alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, tenor stylist Bill Pierce, pianist James Williams, and bassist Charles Fambrough. All are now highly respected bandleaders and recording artists, but on this four-cut set they were Jazz Messengers, with Blakey's rumbling, bursting licks and rhythms to keep them moving. While there are times when the three-horn frontline does not sound completely together during ensemble sections, they mesh by the song's end.
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AllMusic Review by Ron Wynn