1. The Hub
2. Blue Moon
4. NY Theme
Art Blakey – Drums
Freddie Hubbard – Trumpet
Jaki Byard – Piano
Nathan Davis – Tenor sax
Reggie Workman – Bass
For some unknown reason this edition of the ‘Messengers’ was called
the New Jazzmen. The only reason I can think of for this was that
the group was put together for a tour of Europe that Blakey nearly
turned down, because he did not have a tenor sax player at the time.
Then someone suggested Nathan Davis, who was known to Blakey but was
resident in Paris at the time; he did such a good job that Art offered
him the job with the Jazz Messengers after the tour. Davis, however.
preferred to stay in Paris, which is probably why his talents are
not widely known today.
This is an hour-long performance made in black-and-white for a French
TV station. The piano and bass are somewhat under-recorded, but not
badly enough to spoil the enjoyment. The star of the show is undoubtedly
Freddie Hubbard: his trumpet playing is superb. He also composed three
of the four tunes and soloed on the only standard, Blue Moon,
Jaki Byard would never have been a Messenger; he did not subscribe
to Blakey’s hard swinging style, preferring to incorporate many jazz
styles into his solos. Nathan Davis is a fine tenor sax player with
a great tone and lots of ideas. Art Blakey is himself, one of the
most swinging drummers jazz has ever known.
The Quincy Jones cover note says “The release of Jazz Icons is like
the unearthing of a musical time capsule – an audio-visual treasure
trove of the music that changed the world. From an educational standpoint
this series is a gift to our culture". As far as this release
is concerned I agree with him!