The Jazz Messengers  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Art Blakey

The Jazz Messengers was Art Blakey's band. It included many young musicians who went on to become prominent names in jazz, including Jackie McLean, Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Curtis Fuller, Donald Byrd, Cedar Walton, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Johnny Griffin, Benny Golson, Bobby Timmons, Jymie Merritt, Chuck Mangione, John Gilmore, Woody Shaw, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett, Joanne Brackeen, Brian Lynch, James Williams, Mulgrew Miller, Benny Green, Donald Harrison, Terence Blanchard, and John Hicks. The band's legacy is thus not only the often exceptionally fine music it produced, but as a proving ground for several generations of jazz musicians; it is comparable only to Miles Davis's bands in this regard.

The Jazz Messengers

The origins of the Messengers are in a series of groups led or co-led by Blakey and pianist Horace Silver, though the name was not used on the earliest of their recordings. The most celebrated of these early records (credited to "The Art Blakey Quintet"), is A Night at Birdland from February 1954, one of the earliest commercially released "live" jazz records. This featured Silver, Blakey, the young trumpeter Clifford Brown, alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson and bassist Curly Russell. The "Jazz Messengers" name was first used on a 1954 recording nominally led by Silver, with Blakey, Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham and Doug Watkins — the same quintet would record The Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia the following year, still as a collective. Donald Byrd replaced Dorham, and the group recorded an album called simply The Jazz Messengers for Columbia Records in 1956. Blakey took over the group name when Silver left after the band's first year (taking Mobley, Byrd and Watkins with him to form a new quintet with a variety of drummers), and the band was known as "Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers" from then onwards.

From 1959 to 1961 the group featured Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Jymie Merritt, Lee Morgan, and Bobby Timmons. The second (1961-1964) was a sextet that added trombonist Curtis Fuller and replaced Morgan and Timmons with Freddie Hubbard and Cedar Walton, respectively. Shorter was the musical director of the group, and many of his original compositions such as "Lester Left Town" remained staples of Blakey's repertoire even after Shorter's departure. (Other players over the years made permanent marks on Blakey's repertoire — Timmons, composer of "Dat Dere" and "Moanin'", Benny Golson, composer of "Along Came Betty" and "Are You Real", and, later, Bobby Watson.) Shorter's more experimental inclinations pushed the band at the time into an engagement with the 1960s "New Thing", as it was called: the influence of Coltrane's contemporary records on Impulse! is evident on Free For All (1964), often cited as the greatest document of the Shorter-era Messengers (and certainly one of the most fearsomely powerful examples of hard bop on record).Template:Fact



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Jazz Messengers" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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