Art Blakey’s strength of character and political awareness, coupled with his revitalization of African drumming heritage, made him a figure that was impossible to ignore. The Jazz Messengers, a collective he orchestrated for more than thirty years, became a makeshift conservatoire in which the great soloists and writers like Benny Golson and Wayne Shorter could learn and grow, before spreading their wings and flying the coop. It is like a breath of fresh air to rediscover this time; when jazz was inventive at the same time as being adopted by mainstream audiences. Theirs was a music that resonated, announcing its own historical moment while refreshing the jazz repertoire as a whole.
In 1958, the saxophonist Benny Golson acted as musical director for the Jazz Messengers, composing “I remember Clifford” and “Along Came Betty” whilst pianist Bobby Timmons contributed “moanin’” to their setlist. These young musicians’ inflections make even the sound of bebop – then a fresh, unworn style – feel more open and soulful (“Now’s the Time,” “Night in Tunisia,” “Evidence”).
This performance for audiences in a small Dutch town is now available for the first time with exceptional sound quality. It marks a continuation of the musical lineage started by The Jazz Messengers at Club Saint Germain. The concert also features Lee Morgan and the brilliant bassist Jymie Merritt.
Art Blakey, Live in Scheveningen (The Lost Recordings/Fondamenta)