Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers

Jazz Archives: Blakey

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The explosive power of Art Blakey's drumming will never be forgotten. His incessant drive and strength were a thing of beauty. JAZZ ARCHIVES is a remastered live set from Blakey and his Jazz Messengers, seemingly from the late '50s (there are no credits listed). From the opening "Hey World" it is evident that this is Blakey's show; his big, bashing time on the cymbals, pounding fills, and tasteful accents drive the horns through their paces before the bandleader finishes with a powerful solo of his own.

In contrast, the smoky ballad "Angel Eyes" is given a gentle duet reading on the theme before Blakey settles into a medium swing groove for the improvisations. "Slide No. 2" is an excellent ensemble piece that features a driving mambo beat as well as dynamic horn work. The closer, "Theme," starts off with a massive solo by Blakey followed by the rocking melody with which the Messengers closed every show. In all, this disc provides a nice snapshot of Blakey's talents as a drummer and bandleader at his peak.

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