Art Blakey / Max Roach

Percussion Discussion

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This double-LP from Chess combines together unrelated sessions led by drummer Max Roach or Art Blakey, both of which were originally made for the Cadet label. Blakey features the 1957 version of his Jazz Messengers (which includes altoist Jackie McLean, trumpeter Bill Hardman, pianist Sam Dockery and bassist Spanky DeBrest) on a pair of Duke Jordan songs (including "Flight to Jordan"), a selection apiece from Blakey and altoist Gigi Gryce and a brief four-song "Gershwin Medley." The Roach selections are most significant for featuring a young pianist named Ramsey Lewis in a straightahead setting; the other musicians are trumpeter Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley on tenor and bassist George Morrow, and the music is dominated by group originals. Overall, neither of the two sets are essential or overly innovative, but they helped to define what hard bop sounded like in the late '50s and will be savored by straightahead jazz fans.

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