Friday, March 13, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

Artist:Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Album:Keystone 3

Of course Art Blakey is one of the all time greats of jazz best known for his bands of the 50s and 60s featuring musicians like Wayne Shorter and Curtis Fuller. But you don't want to overlook his 80s version of The Jazz Messengers featuring Branford and Wynton Marsalis. Most of the 70s were lean times for Blakey. When shorter left The Jazz Messengers for Miles Davis in 1964 and Blakey left Blue Note, he recorded for several labels. He signed with Prestige in 1972. He seemed to flounder around for a few years. He seemed to find some consistency when he signed with Concord in the late 70s and Fuller returned to The Jazz Messengers for a brief time. At the time, the band included valery Ponomarev on trumpet, Bobby Watson on alto sax, David Schnitter on tenor sax, James Williams on piano and Dennis Irwin on bass. By this time, Blakey was interested in using his band as a proving ground for young musicians. So in 1980, he formed and all new version of The Jazz Messengers that for a time featured two sets of brothers, Branford and Wynton Marsalis and Robin and Kevin Eubanks. That was a larger band that recorded the 1980 CD Live At Montreux and Northsea. The band reduced soon after for this 1982 CD Keystone 3, the band was Wynton Marsalis on trumpet, Branford Marsalis on alto sax, Bill Pierce on tenor sax, Donald Brown on piano and Charles Fambrough on bass. The album was recorded live at Keystone Korner in San Francisco. Brown was just out of college and he replaced Williams when he left. Pierce and Fambrough were both part of the larger band that played Montreux. Alamode was written by Curtis Fuller and Blakey first recorded it in 1961. Blakey's albums from the 80s are as good as anything he recorded in the 50s. Of course not long after the Marsalis brothers became famous and had to leave. They were replaced by Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison. Not bad. But many jazz fans got to hear great musicians before they became famous because of Blakey. And Blakey's mentoring of young musicians is an important part of his legacy. He continued to do this until his death on Oct. 16, 1990 at age 71. Here's Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers performing Alamode on Jazz Club in Germany in 1989 to celebrate Blakey's 70th birthday. This all star band was put together for this show.

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