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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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ART BLAKEY

Live in '65

Naxos Jazz Icons 2119017

 

 


1. The Hub
2. Blue Moon
3. Crisis
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, a show-stopper.

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!

Don Mather



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