A member of the Jazz Messengers from 1961 to 1964, during one of the group's most creative and influential periods, it makes sense that pianist Cedar Walton would desire to return to these roots. Together with an all-star group of former Jazz Messengers, Walton pays homage to his old boss on The Art Blakey Legacy. This live set, recorded at Sweet Basil in New York City, is a fiery and energetic tribute that features, among others, trumpeter Philip Harper, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, and trombonist Steve Turre. Interestingly, drummer Billy Higgins, who was not a member of the Messengers, plays here, adding his spectacular and intuitive abilities. Although not someone you would immediately think of as a successor to the Blakey style, Higgins nonetheless propels the group fiercely. Also joining in on two selections is ex-Messenger (and leader in his own right) alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson, showcasing his undiminished funkiness. This live tribute lives up to Blakey's legacy.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar