Although one of the lesser-known editions of The Jazz Messengers, the sextet featured on this Concord session (trumpeter Valeri Ponomarev, altoist Bobby Watson, tenor saxophonist David Schnitter, pianist James Williams and bassist Dennis Irwin in addition to the leader/drummer) could hold its own with its more acclaimed predecessors and successors. Blakey always encouraged his sidemen to write new music, so on this set Williams, Watson and Ponomarev contributed fresh material for the hard-bop ensemble. Blakey fans should enjoy this underrated set.
In This Korner Review
by Scott Yanow