The Art of Blakey

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Originally released in 1993 on Japan's King label, one of the founding fathers of hard bop is celebrated by the presence of trombonist Robin Eubanks, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, trumpeter Brian Lynch, pianist Geoff Keezer, and bassist Peter Washington. These former Jazz Mesengers are joined by tenor saxophonist Ralph Moore and drummer Carl Allen to play four originals by the group's members, four classics from the Jazz Messenger repertoire, one standard (a fine Lynch arrangement of "Blue Moon"), and one new composition, Bill Lee's "Great Wall." The focus of this recording is the arrangements of the Jazz Messenger tunes, as Cedar Walton's "Mosaic," Wayne Shorter's "Ping Pong," Bobby Timmons' "Moanin," and Curtis Fuller's "A La Mode" are given fresh, up-tempo readings, while newer tunes such as Keezer's "Eternal Messenger" and Eubanks'"Red Black and Green Blues" display the ensemble interaction and hard swing are part of the Jazz Messengers tradition. While all of the musicians on this recording are considered among the best on their chosen instruments, Moore's distinctive tenor sound and aggressive attack is a highlight. This is one of 1995's best releases, and a great tribute to a great musician.

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