Art Blakey / Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers

The Art of Jazz: Live in Leverkusen

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Drummer Art Blakey and the 1989 version of his Jazz Messengers (with trumpeter Brian Lynch, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, trombonist Frank Lacy, pianist Geoff Keezer and bassist Buster Williams) celebrated the leader's 70th birthday by welcoming back several notable alumni: trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Terence Blanchard, altoists Jackie McLean and Donald Harrison, tenors Wayne Shorter and Benny Golson, pianist Walter Davis Jr. and trombonist Curtis Fuller. This single CD has some of the highlights of the British concert, although one wishes that the entire date had been released, for some of the musicians only make cameo appearances. Highlights include the opportunities to hear Shorter in this setting (he is well featured on "Lester Left Town") and versions of "Along Came Betty" and "Blues March" that contain short solos from many of the players. In addition, Michele Hendricks sings Horace Silver's words to "Mr. Blakey"; drummer Roy Haynes plays second drums on "Blues March"; and the CD concludes with a nearly-13 minute interview that Mike Hennessey conducted with Blakey in 1976 in which the drummer reminisces about the Jazz Messengers' early days. Well worth picking up.

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