Art Blakey / Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers

Live at Ronnie Scott's: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers [DRG]

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After a decade of steady recording, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers found their hard bop music somewhat out-of-fashion by the late '60s; in fact, they only recorded two sessions (both live) between 1967-71. This particular one (a budget LP from Everest) is most unusual for the solos of tenor saxophonist Billy Harper are much more advanced than those of Blakey's usual sidemen. With trumpeter Bill Hardman, trombonist Julian Priester, pianist Ronnie Mathews and bassist Larry Evans completing the group, much of the music on these four selections is actually closer to free jazz than to hard bop, making this one of Blakey's most adventurous sets.

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