The Jazz Messengers

Amazing performances of hard bop drummer Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, including trumpeter Lee Morgan, saxman John Gilmore, bassist Victor Sproles, and pianist John Hicks, from a televised special in England in the mid-60s. I love these two videos I’m putting up — Buhaina’s Delight and I Can’t Get Started. All of these guys are monster soloists and very inspirational players to soak up ideas from. I also like the “heads” or “themes” on both tunes. Very cool. I’ve never played Bu’s Delight at a gig, but have played the other a few times. Classic standard from the old days.

Check out Blakey’s drum solo on Bu’s Delight…a jazz drummer with the thunder of someone like John Bonham — I know it pisses some people off to compare rock and jazz players doesn’t it? Blakey is really incomparable, I know. He was a total monster and played like he was on fire for 40 odd years and his Jazz Messengers served up some of the hardest and most soulful jazz ever made. He and his band also served as a training ground for young players and launched the careers of people like Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Kevin Eubanks (guitarist from the Tonight Show), Keith Jarret, Bobby Timmons and Wynton Marsailas. I have the Bu’s Delight album and it’s great! Also hear other stuff all the time on the jazz radio thing. Very hard and dark music with a lot of muscle and a lot of swing.

Both Lee Morgan and John Gilmore were great players too. Morgan played with many jazz greats and released quite a few of his own records before he was killed tragically in the early 70s and Gilmore played with the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra until his death in the mid-90s. He has been considered by some to have been an influence on Coltrane!! Both of these guys should be near the top on any list of players of their respective instruments.

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