Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Caravan

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Yet another fabulous session by Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers from the early ’60s. Caravan was the Messengers’ debut for Riverside during a time when they primarily recorded sessions for Alfred Lion’s Blue Note label. This is the sextet version of the group, with Freddie Hubbard, Curtis Fuller, and Wayne Shorter forming one of the best front lines of all time. As usual, the band is the epitome of classic hard bop, with tight ensemble work, highly advanced arrangements, and powerful solos by all.

The group’s impressive arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” opens the set with signature African drum grooves and solos from the leader. Music director Shorter contributes two original selections for the set; his swinging waltz “Sweet ‘N’ Sour” is offered in two takes, and the moving “This is For Albert” is, interestingly enough, a dedication to pianist Bud Powell. One of the group’s strengths, of course, was their treatment of standards, and both “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” and “Skylark” receive beautiful readings here. Freddie Hubbard’s classic “Thermo” gets two excellent takes to close the set in true Messengers fashion.

Tracklist

01. Caravan
02. Sweet ‘N’ Sour (Take 4)
03. Sweet ‘N’ Sour
04. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
05. This Is For Albert
06. Skylark
07. Thermo (Take 2)
08. Thermo

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One Response to “Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Caravan”

  1. Dennis Hermanson says:

    The album that made my young soul want to play drums, and while I never got to be a jazz drummer, I am still a jazz lover, and big fan of Art Blakey, the master of the press roll, and power-bop drummer from Africa (honored as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina) to NYC, via Billy Eckstine’s big band (1944–7), he met the greats and helped make bebop. Then as Art Blakey and the Messengers, he created the best “finishing school” of jazz ever created working on the bandstand. The list of strudents is a who’s-who of modern jazz, as is the giants he played with.
    A great presence, a warm individual who made himself availalbe and appreciate at gigs to fans like me, he was a modern jazz drummer who was both Africa and America incarnate, the driving eternal hearbeat rhythms of Africa, the sounds, colors and conplexities of changing America.
    It’s all there in the recordings of Art Blakey. And this is one of his very best, Caravan, the homage to the motherland, and the Duke who made it a royal silk road of sound for us all.

    Thanks to Rappamelo.

    Den NC USA

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