35 years after first officially forming The Jazz Messengers, drummer Art Blakey entered his final year still at it. Due to the many promising young players around at the time, Blakey expanded The Messengers from its usual quintet or sextet into a septet for this fine recording session. In addition to trumpeter Brian Lynch, pianist Geoff Keezer and bassist Essiet Okon Essiet, this version of The Messengers had two tenors (Javon Jackson and Dale Barlow) and a pair of alternating trombonists (Frank Lacy and Steve Davis). Quite typically, other than Wayne Shorter's obscure "Hammerhead" and two standards, all of the material on this CD was new and composed by Blakey's sidemen. Because Blakey constantly persuaded his musicians to write music, The Jazz Messengers stayed young in spirit, just like its leader. A fine effort.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow