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Art Blakey

Art Blakey

Overview
Arthur "Art" Blakey known later as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina, was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

-winning jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 drummer
Drummer
A drummer is a musician who is capable of playing drums, which includes but is not limited to a drum kit and accessory based hardware which includes an assortment of pedals and standing support mechanisms, marching percussion and/or any musical instrument that is struck within the context of a...

 and bandleader
Bandleader
A bandleader is the leader of a band of musicians. The term is most commonly, though not exclusively, used with a group that plays popular music as a small combo or a big band, such as one which plays jazz, blues, rhythm and blues or rock and roll music....

. He was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

.

Along with Kenny Clarke
Kenny Clarke
Kenny Clarke , born Kenneth Spearman Clarke, nicknamed "Klook" and later known as Liaqat Ali Salaam, was a jazz drummer and an early innovator of the bebop style of drumming...

 and Max Roach
Max Roach
Maxwell Lemuel "Max" Roach was an American jazz percussionist, drummer, and composer.A pioneer of bebop, Roach went on to work in many other styles of music, and is generally considered alongside the most important drummers in history...

, he was one of the inventors of the modern bebop
Bebop
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers...

 style of drumming. He is known as a powerful musician and a vital groover; his brand of bluesy, funky hard bop
Hard bop
Hard bop is a style of jazz that is an extension of bebop music. Journalists and record companies began using the term in the mid-1950s to describe a new current within jazz which incorporated influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano...

 was and continues to be profoundly influential on mainstream jazz. For more than 30 years his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers included many young musicians who went on to become prominent names in jazz.
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Quotations

On the eventual death of racism: “What ever truth drops on it eventually grinds to a powder.”

Source KABC-TV interview -1983

On a live performance: "If you feel like tapping your feet, tap your feet. If you feel like clapping your hands, clap your hands. And if you feel like taking off your shoes, take off your shoes. We are here to have a ball. So we want you to leave your worldly troubles outside and come in here and swing."

Source At the Jazz Corner of the World, Blue Note, 1959

"...so go on and play, and if you make a mistake, make it loud so you won't make it next time."

Source "A Night in Tunisia"
Encyclopedia
Arthur "Art" Blakey known later as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina, was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

-winning jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 drummer
Drummer
A drummer is a musician who is capable of playing drums, which includes but is not limited to a drum kit and accessory based hardware which includes an assortment of pedals and standing support mechanisms, marching percussion and/or any musical instrument that is struck within the context of a...

 and bandleader
Bandleader
A bandleader is the leader of a band of musicians. The term is most commonly, though not exclusively, used with a group that plays popular music as a small combo or a big band, such as one which plays jazz, blues, rhythm and blues or rock and roll music....

. He was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

.

Along with Kenny Clarke
Kenny Clarke
Kenny Clarke , born Kenneth Spearman Clarke, nicknamed "Klook" and later known as Liaqat Ali Salaam, was a jazz drummer and an early innovator of the bebop style of drumming...

 and Max Roach
Max Roach
Maxwell Lemuel "Max" Roach was an American jazz percussionist, drummer, and composer.A pioneer of bebop, Roach went on to work in many other styles of music, and is generally considered alongside the most important drummers in history...

, he was one of the inventors of the modern bebop
Bebop
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers...

 style of drumming. He is known as a powerful musician and a vital groover; his brand of bluesy, funky hard bop
Hard bop
Hard bop is a style of jazz that is an extension of bebop music. Journalists and record companies began using the term in the mid-1950s to describe a new current within jazz which incorporated influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano...

 was and continues to be profoundly influential on mainstream jazz. For more than 30 years his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers included many young musicians who went on to become prominent names in jazz. The band's legacy is thus not only known for the often exceptionally fine music it produced, but as a proving ground for several generations of jazz musicians; Blakey's groups are matched only by those of Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

 in this regard.

Blakey was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame
Jazz hall of fame
The term Jazz hall of fame can refer to the following institutions:* Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame * The Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame , a defunct annual recognition by a non-profit organization based in North San Diego County, California...

 (in 1982), the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 2001), and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...

 in 2005.

Before the Messengers


Blakey was born in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

. By the time he was a teenager, he was playing the piano full-time, leading a commercial band. Shortly afterwards, reputedly because he thought he would be unable to compete with the emerging pianist Erroll Garner
Erroll Garner
Erroll Louis Garner was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and ballads. His best-known composition, the ballad "Misty", has become a jazz standard...

, he taught himself to play the drums in the aggressive swing style of Chick Webb
Chick Webb
William Henry Webb, usually known as Chick Webb was an American jazz and swing music drummer as well as a band leader.-Biography:...

, Sid Catlett
Sid Catlett
Sidney Catlett , was a swinging jazz drummer often referred to as "Big Sid Catlett" because of his large frame.-Biography:...

 and Ray Bauduc
Ray Bauduc
Ray Bauduc was a jazz drummer best known for his work with the Bob Crosby Orchestra and their band-within-a-band, the Bobcats, between 1935 and 1942....

. He joined Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams
Mary Lou Williams was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. Williams wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements, and recorded more than one hundred records...

 as a drummer for an engagement in New York in autumn 1942. He then toured with the Fletcher Henderson
Fletcher Henderson
James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of big band jazz and swing music. His was one of the most prolific black orchestras and his influence was vast...

 Orchestra (1939–1942). During his years with Billy Eckstine
Billy Eckstine
William Clarence Eckstine was an American singer of ballads and a bandleader of the swing era. Eckstine's smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato broke down barriers throughout the 1940s, first as leader of the original bop big-band, then as the first romantic black male in popular...

’s big band (1944–7), Blakey became associated with the bebop
Bebop
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers...

 movement, along with his fellow band members Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

, Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and an Academy Award-nominated actor . He is regarded as one of the first and most important musicians to adapt the bebop musical language of people like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell to the tenor saxophone...

, Fats Navarro
Fats Navarro
Theodore "Fats" Navarro was an American jazz trumpet player. He was a pioneer of the bebop style of jazz improvisation in the 1940s. He had a strong stylistic influence on many other players, most notably Clifford Brown.-Life:Navarro was born in Key West, Florida, to Cuban-Black-Chinese parentage...

 and others.

By the late forties and early fifties, Blakey was backing musicians such as Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

, Bud Powell
Bud Powell
Earl Rudolph "Bud" Powell was an American Jazz pianist. Powell has been described as one of "the two most significant pianists of the style of modern jazz that came to be known as bop", the other being his friend and contemporary Thelonious Monk...

 and Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Sphere Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer considered "one of the giants of American music". Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "Epistrophy", "'Round Midnight", "Blue Monk", "Straight, No Chaser"...

 — he is often considered to have been Monk's most empathetic drummer, and he played on both Monk's first recording session as a leader (for Blue Note Records
Blue Note Records
Blue Note Records is a jazz record label, established in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis. Francis Wolff became involved shortly afterwards. It derives its name from the characteristic "blue notes" of jazz and the blues. At the end of the 1950s, and in the early 1960s, Blue Note headquarters...

 in 1947) and his final one (in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in 1971), as well as many in between.

He claimed that he then travelled to Africa during 1948–49; however, no documentation has been uncovered that supports this claim. He did though convert to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 during this period and took the name Abdullah Ibn Buhaina (which led to the nickname "Bu"). In the early 1950s he performed and broadcast with such musicians as Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charles Parker, Jr. , famously called Bird or Yardbird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer....

 and Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...



From his earliest recording sessions with Eckstine, and particularly in his historic sessions with Monk in 1947, Blakey exuded power and originality, creating a dark cymbal sound punctuated by frequent loud snare- and bass-drum accents in triplets or cross-rhythms. Although Blakey discouraged comparison of his own music with African drumming, he adopted several African devices, including rapping on the side of the drum and using his elbow on the tom-tom to alter the pitch. His much-imitated trademark, the forceful closing of the hi-hat on every second and fourth beat, was part of his style from 1950 to '51. A loud and domineering drummer, Blakey also listened and responded to his soloists. His contribution to jazz as a discoverer and molder of young talent over three decades was no less significant than his very considerable innovations on his instrument.

The Jazz Messengers


In 1947 Blakey organized the Seventeen Messengers, a rehearsal band, and recorded with an octet called the Jazz Messengers. The use of the Messengers tag only stuck with the group co-led at first by both Blakey and pianist Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver , born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva in Norwalk, Connecticut, is an American jazz pianist and composer....

, though the name was not used on the earliest of their recordings. Blakey and Silver recorded together on several occasions, including live at Birdland
A Night at Birdland Vol. 1
A Night at Birdland Vol. 1 is a 1954 release by jazz artist Art Blakey. It was first released by Blue Note Records as a 10" LP and then as a 12" LP containing material from the third 10" album...

 with trumpeter Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown , aka "Brownie," was an influential and highly rated American jazz trumpeter. He died aged 25, leaving behind only four years' worth of recordings...

 and alto-saxophonist Lou Donaldson
Lou Donaldson
Lou Donaldson is a jazz alto saxophonist. He was born in Badin, North Carolina. He is best known for his soulful, bluesy approach to playing the alto saxophone, although in his formative years he was, as many were of the bebop era, heavily influenced by Charlie Parker.His first recordings were...

 in 1954 for Blue Note
Blue Note Records
Blue Note Records is a jazz record label, established in 1939 by Alfred Lion and Max Margulis. Francis Wolff became involved shortly afterwards. It derives its name from the characteristic "blue notes" of jazz and the blues. At the end of the 1950s, and in the early 1960s, Blue Note headquarters...

, having formed in 1953 a regular cooperative group with Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley
Henry Mobley was an American hard bop and soul jazz tenor saxophonist and composer. Mobley was described by Leonard Feather as the "middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone", a metaphor used to describe his tone that was neither as aggressive as John Coltrane nor as mellow as Stan Getz...

 and Kenny Dorham
Kenny Dorham
McKinley Howard Dorham was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and composer born in Fairfield, Texas. Dorham's talent is frequently lauded by critics and other musicians, but he never received the kind of attention from the jazz establishment that many of his peers did...

.

The "Jazz Messengers" name was first used for this group on a 1954 recording nominally led by Silver, with Blakey, Mobley, Dorham and Doug Watkins
Doug Watkins
Douglas Watkins was an American hard bop jazz double bassist from Detroit.-Biography:An original member of the Jazz Messengers, he later played in Horace Silver's quintet and freelanced with Gene Ammons, Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins,...

 — the same quintet would record The Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia the following year, still functioning as a collective. Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II, is an American jazz and rhythm and blues trumpeter. A sideman for many other jazz musicians of his generation, Byrd is best known as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while simultaneously remaining a...

 replaced Dorham, and the group recorded an album called simply The Jazz Messengers for Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

 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 with Blakey being the sole leader, and he remained associated with it for the rest of his life. It was the archetypal hard-bop group of the 1950s, playing a driving, aggressive extension of bop
Bebop
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers...

 with pronounced blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 roots. Towards the end of the 1950s, the saxophonists Johnny Griffin
Johnny Griffin
John Arnold Griffin III was an American bop and hard bop tenor saxophonist.- Early life and career :Griffin studied music at DuSable High School in Chicago under Walter Dyett, starting out on clarinet before moving on to oboe and then alto sax...

 and Benny Golson
Benny Golson
Benny Golson is an American bebop/hard bop jazz tenor saxophonist, composer, and arranger.-Biography:While in high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Golson played with several other promising young musicians, including John Coltrane, Red Garland, Jimmy Heath, Percy Heath, Philly Joe Jones, and...

 were in turn briefly members of the group. Golson, as music director, wrote several jazz standards which began as part of the band book such as "I Remember Clifford", and "Blues March" was regularly revived by later editions of the group. "Along Came Betty" and "Are You Real" were other Golson compositions for Blakey.

From 1959 to 1961 the group featured Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter is an American jazz saxophonist and composer.He is generally acknowledged to be jazz's greatest living composer, and many of his compositions have become standards...

 on tenor saxophone, Jymie Merritt
Jymie Merritt
Jymie Merritt is an American jazz double-bassist.-Biography:Raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he has worked in jazz, rhythm and blues, and blues. He has worked with Bull Moose Jackson, B. B...

, Lee Morgan
Lee Morgan
Edward Lee Morgan was an American hard bop trumpeter.-Biography:...

, and Bobby Timmons
Bobby Timmons
Robert Henry "Bobby" Timmons was an African American jazz pianist and composer.He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is best known for his role as sideman in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and the composition of "Moanin'", "Dat Dere", and "This Here", each of which are typical of his...

. The second line-up (1961–1964) was a sextet that added trombonist Curtis Fuller
Curtis Fuller
Curtis DuBois Fuller is an American jazz trombonist, known as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and contributor to many classic jazz recordings.-Biography:...

 and replaced Morgan and Timmons with Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Frederick Dewayne "Freddie" Hubbard was an American jazz trumpeter. He was known primarily for playing in the bebop, hard bop and post bop styles from the early 1960s and on...

 and Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Anthony Walton, Junior is an American hard bop jazz pianist.-Biography:Walton grew up in Dallas, Texas. His mother was an aspiring concert pianist, and was Walton's initial teacher. She also took him to jazz performances around Dallas...

, respectively. Shorter was now the musical director of the group, and many of his original compositions such as "Lester Left Town" remained repertoire staples later on. (Other players over the years made permanent marks on Blakey's repertoire — Timmons, composer of "Dat Dere" and "Moanin'", 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
Hard bop
Hard bop is a style of jazz that is an extension of bebop music. Journalists and record companies began using the term in the mid-1950s to describe a new current within jazz which incorporated influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano...

 on record).

Up to the 1960s Blakey also recorded as a sideman with many other musicians: Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith (musician)
Jimmy Smith was a jazz musician whose performances on the Hammond B-3 electric organ helped to popularize this instrument...

, Herbie Nichols
Herbie Nichols
Herbie Nichols , was an American jazz pianist and composer who wrote the jazz standard "Lady Sings the Blues". Obscure during his lifetime, he is now highly regarded by many musicians and critics.-Life:...

, Cannonball Adderley, Grant Green
Grant Green
Grant Green was a jazz guitarist and composer....

, and Jazz Messengers graduates Lee Morgan
Lee Morgan
Edward Lee Morgan was an American hard bop trumpeter.-Biography:...

 and Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley
Henry Mobley was an American hard bop and soul jazz tenor saxophonist and composer. Mobley was described by Leonard Feather as the "middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone", a metaphor used to describe his tone that was neither as aggressive as John Coltrane nor as mellow as Stan Getz...

, amongst many others. However, after the mid-1960s he mostly concentrated on his own work as a leader. Blakey also made a world tour in 1971–2 with the Giants of Jazz (with Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer dubbed "the sound of surprise".Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz...

, Kai Winding
Kai Winding
Kai Chresten Winding was a popular Danish-born American trombonist and jazz composer. He is well known for a successful collaboration with fellow trombonist J. J. Johnson.-Biography:...

, Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
Edward "Sonny" Stitt was an American jazz saxophonist of the bebop/hard bop idiom. He was also one of the best-documented saxophonists of his generation, recording over 100 albums in his lifetime...

, Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Sphere Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer considered "one of the giants of American music". Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "Epistrophy", "'Round Midnight", "Blue Monk", "Straight, No Chaser"...

 and Al McKibbon
Al McKibbon
Al McKibbon was an American jazz double bassist, known for his work in bop, hard bop, and Latin jazz.In 1947, after working with Lucky Millinder, Tab Smith, J. C. Heard, and Coleman Hawkins, he replaced Ray Brown in Dizzy Gillespie's band, in which he played until 1950...

).

Later career


Blakey went on to record dozens of albums with a constantly changing group of Jazz Messengers — he had a policy of encouraging young musicians: as he remarked on-mike during the live session which resulted in the A Night at Birdland albums in 1954: "I'm gonna stay with the youngsters. When these get too old I'll get some younger ones. Keeps the mind active." After weathering the fusion era in the 1970s with some difficulty (recordings from this period are less plentiful and include attempts to incorporate instruments like electric piano), Blakey's band got revitalized in the early 1980s with the advent of neotraditionalist jazz. Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Learson Marsalis is a trumpeter, composer, bandleader, music educator, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis has promoted the appreciation of classical and jazz music often to young audiences...

 was for a time the band's trumpeter and musical director, and even after Marsalis's departure Blakey's band continued as a proving ground for many "Young Lions" like Johnny O'Neal
Johnny O'Neal
Johnny O'Neal, born October 10, 1956 in Detroit, Michigan, is an American Neo-bop jazz pianist. His playing ranges from the technically virtuosic to the tenderest of ballad interpretations. Though unique in style, he is influenced by many jazz elders, including Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum. He has...

, Philip Harper
Philip Harper
Philip Harper is a jazz trumpeter. He grew up in Atlanta and studied music there. He later worked with The Jazz Messengers and Charles Mingus' big band. He also signed with Verve Records and produced four albums for them.Harper played from 1988 to 1993 in The Harper Brothers, alongside brother...

, Terence Blanchard
Terence Blanchard
Terence Oliver Blanchard is an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer. Since he emerged on the scene in 1980 with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and then shortly thereafter with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Blanchard has been a leading artist in jazz...

, Donald Harrison
Donald Harrison
Donald Harrison, Jr. is an American jazz saxophonist from New Orleans, Louisiana.-Biography:Harrison studied at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Berklee College of Music. He played with Roy Haynes, Jack McDuff, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Terence Blanchard and Don Pullen in the...

 and Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett is a Grammy Award-winning American post bop jazz saxophonist and flautist who gained fame in his youth as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and of Miles Davis's band. He has since pursued a critically acclaimed solo career...

.

Blakey continued performing and touring with the group into the late 1980s; Ron Wynn
Ron Wynn
Ron Wynn is a music critic, author, and allmusic editor. Wynn was the editor of the first edition of The All Music Guide to Jazz , and from 1993 to 1994 served as the jazz and rap editor of the All Music Guide. Wynn is the former editor of New Memphis Star and the former chief jazz and pop music...

 notes that Blakey had "played with such force and fury that he eventually lost much of his hearing, and at the end of his life, often played strictly by instinct." Some reports suggest Blakey had hearing problems as early as 1959. Blakey died in 1990 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, leaving behind a vast legacy and approach to jazz which is still the model for countless hard-bop players.

Jazz Messengers alumni



Piano
Wynton Kelly
Wynton Kelly
Wynton Kelly was a Jamaican-born jazz pianist, who spent his career in the United States. He is perhaps best known for working with trumpeter Miles Davis from 1959-1962.-Biography:...

, Joanne Brackeen
Joanne Brackeen
Joanne Brackeen is an American jazz pianist and music educator.-Biography:She was born Joanne Grogan in Ventura, California. She attended the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, but devoted herself to jazz by imitating Frankie Carle albums...

, Donald Brown
Donald Brown (musician)
Donald Ray Brown is an American jazz pianist.Brown was raised in Memphis, Tennessee, where he learned to play trumpet and drums in his youth. From 1972 to 1975 he was a student at Memphis State University, by which time he had made piano his primary instrument...

, Walter Davis, Jr.
Walter Davis, Jr.
Walter Davis, Jr. was an American hard bop pianist.Born in Richmond, Virginia, Davis performed as a teenager with Babs Gonzales and his group Three Bips and a Bop. In the 1950s, Davis recorded with Melba Liston, Max Roach and played with Roach, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie...

, Sam Dockery
Sam Dockery
Sam Dockery was a hard bop pianist and well-respected musician on the Philadelphia jazz scene since the early 1950s. He appears on 11 recordings as the pianist for Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers and composed "Sam's Tune" which appears on their 1957 Blue Note recording, Ritual. In 1963 he was the...

, Kenny Drew
Kenny Drew
Kenneth Sidney "Kenny" Drew was an American jazz pianist.-Biography:Born in New York City, New York, he first recorded with Howard McGhee in 1949, and over the next two years recorded with Buddy DeFranco, Coleman Hawkins, Milt Jackson, Charlie Parker, Buddy Rich, and Dinah Washington...

, Benny Green
Benny Green (pianist)
Benny Green is a hard bop jazz pianist who was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He has been compared to Bud Powell in style and counts him as an influence. As a boy he grew up in Berkeley, California and studied classical piano from the age of seven...

, John Hicks
John Hicks (jazz pianist)
John Josephus Hicks, Jr. was an American jazz pianist and composer, active in the New York and the international jazz scene from the mid-1960s.-Biography:...

, Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett is an American pianist and composer who performs both jazz and classical music.Jarrett started his career with Art Blakey, moving on to play with Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis. Since the early 1970s he has enjoyed a great deal of success in jazz, jazz fusion, and classical music; as...

, Geoffrey Keezer, Mulgrew Miller
Mulgrew Miller
Mulgrew Miller is an American jazz pianist who performs in a number of jazz idioms. He began his career as member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.-Biography:...

, Johnny O'Neal
Johnny O'Neal
Johnny O'Neal, born October 10, 1956 in Detroit, Michigan, is an American Neo-bop jazz pianist. His playing ranges from the technically virtuosic to the tenderest of ballad interpretations. Though unique in style, he is influenced by many jazz elders, including Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum. He has...

, Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver , born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva in Norwalk, Connecticut, is an American jazz pianist and composer....

, Bobby Timmons
Bobby Timmons
Robert Henry "Bobby" Timmons was an African American jazz pianist and composer.He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is best known for his role as sideman in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and the composition of "Moanin'", "Dat Dere", and "This Here", each of which are typical of his...

, Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Anthony Walton, Junior is an American hard bop jazz pianist.-Biography:Walton grew up in Dallas, Texas. His mother was an aspiring concert pianist, and was Walton's initial teacher. She also took him to jazz performances around Dallas...

, James Williams
Reeds
Dale Barlow
Dale Barlow
Dale Barlow is an Australian jazz composer, multi-instrumentalist: especially tenor, alto saxophone, soprano saxophonist, baritone saxophone and flute....

, Gary Bartz
Gary Bartz
Gary Bartz is an American alto and soprano saxophonist and clarinetist.Bartz graduated from the Baltimore City College high school and The Juilliard School...

, Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett
Kenny Garrett is a Grammy Award-winning American post bop jazz saxophonist and flautist who gained fame in his youth as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and of Miles Davis's band. He has since pursued a critically acclaimed solo career...

, Lou Donaldson
Lou Donaldson
Lou Donaldson is a jazz alto saxophonist. He was born in Badin, North Carolina. He is best known for his soulful, bluesy approach to playing the alto saxophone, although in his formative years he was, as many were of the bebop era, heavily influenced by Charlie Parker.His first recordings were...

, John Gilmore
John Gilmore (musician)
John Gilmore was an American jazz tenor saxophone player best-known for his long tenure as a member of Sun Ra's Arkestra...

, Benny Golson
Benny Golson
Benny Golson is an American bebop/hard bop jazz tenor saxophonist, composer, and arranger.-Biography:While in high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Golson played with several other promising young musicians, including John Coltrane, Red Garland, Jimmy Heath, Percy Heath, Philly Joe Jones, and...

, Johnny Griffin
Johnny Griffin
John Arnold Griffin III was an American bop and hard bop tenor saxophonist.- Early life and career :Griffin studied music at DuSable High School in Chicago under Walter Dyett, starting out on clarinet before moving on to oboe and then alto sax...

, Billy Harper
Billy Harper
Billy Harper is a Jazz saxophonist, "one of a generation of Coltrane-influenced tenor saxophonists" with a distinctively stern, hard-as-nails sound on his instrument.-Biography:...

, Donald Harrison
Donald Harrison
Donald Harrison, Jr. is an American jazz saxophonist from New Orleans, Louisiana.-Biography:Harrison studied at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Berklee College of Music. He played with Roy Haynes, Jack McDuff, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Terence Blanchard and Don Pullen in the...

, Javon Jackson
Javon Jackson
Javon Jackson is an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He played in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1987 until Blakey's death in 1990, and has also played with the Harper Brothers, Benny Green, Freddie Hubbard and Elvin Jones...

, Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis is an American saxophonist, composer and bandleader. While primarily known for his work in jazz as the leader of the Branford Marsalis Quartet, he also performs frequently as a soloist with classical ensembles and has led the group Buckshot LeFonque.-Biography:Marsalis was born...

, Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
John Lenwood McLean was an American jazz alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader and educator, born in New York City.-Biography:McLean's father, John Sr., played guitar in Tiny Bradshaw's orchestra...

, Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley
Henry Mobley was an American hard bop and soul jazz tenor saxophonist and composer. Mobley was described by Leonard Feather as the "middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone", a metaphor used to describe his tone that was neither as aggressive as John Coltrane nor as mellow as Stan Getz...

, Bill Pierce
Bill Pierce
Bill Pierce is an American jazz saxophonist.He played with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers in the early 1980s and in Tony Williams's quintet in the mid-1980s to early 1990s...

, David Schnitter
David Schnitter
David Schnitter is an American hard bop jazz tenor saxophonist.Schnitter played clarinet as a youth and switched to tenor sax at age 15. After moving to New York City he played with Ted Dunbar and then became a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1974 to 1979...

, Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter is an American jazz saxophonist and composer.He is generally acknowledged to be jazz's greatest living composer, and many of his compositions have become standards...

, Ira Sullivan
Ira Sullivan
Ira Sullivan is a bop jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist, flautist, saxophonist and composer born in Washington, D.C.. An active musician since the 1950s, he may be best known for his extensive work with Red Rodney and Lin Halliday among others....

, Jean Toussaint
Jean Toussaint
Jean Toussaint is a jazz tenor saxophonist. He was born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.Toussaint learned to play calypso as a child, and attended the Berklee College of Music in the late 1970s. In 1979 he played with Wallace Roney, and from 1982 to 1986 he was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz...

, Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson is an American post-bop jazz alto saxophonist, composer, producer, and educator. Watson now has 26 recordings as a leader. He appears on nearly 100 other recordings as either co-leader or in a supporting role...


Trumpet
Terence Blanchard
Terence Blanchard
Terence Oliver Blanchard is an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer. Since he emerged on the scene in 1980 with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and then shortly thereafter with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Blanchard has been a leading artist in jazz...

, Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown , aka "Brownie," was an influential and highly rated American jazz trumpeter. He died aged 25, leaving behind only four years' worth of recordings...

, Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II, is an American jazz and rhythm and blues trumpeter. A sideman for many other jazz musicians of his generation, Byrd is best known as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while simultaneously remaining a...

, Kenny Dorham
Kenny Dorham
McKinley Howard Dorham was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and composer born in Fairfield, Texas. Dorham's talent is frequently lauded by critics and other musicians, but he never received the kind of attention from the jazz establishment that many of his peers did...

, Bill Hardman
Bill Hardman
William Franklin Hardman, Jr. was an American jazz trumpeter and flugelhornist who chiefly played hard bop.-Biography:...

, Philip Harper, Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Frederick Dewayne "Freddie" Hubbard was an American jazz trumpeter. He was known primarily for playing in the bebop, hard bop and post bop styles from the early 1960s and on...

, Brian Lynch
Brian Lynch (musician)
Brian Lynch is a Grammy Award-winning New York based Jazz trumpeter, currently touring and recording as a member of the Phil Woods Quintet and Eddie Palmieri's Afro-Caribbean Jazz group, as well as leading his own groups and appearing with various other bands including the "Latin Side Of Miles"...

, Chuck Mangione
Chuck Mangione
Charles Frank "Chuck" Mangione is an American flugelhorn player and composer who achieved international success in 1977 with his jazz-pop single, "Feels So Good." Mangione has released more than thirty albums since 1960.-Early life and career:...

, Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Learson Marsalis is a trumpeter, composer, bandleader, music educator, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis has promoted the appreciation of classical and jazz music often to young audiences...

, Lee Morgan
Lee Morgan
Edward Lee Morgan was an American hard bop trumpeter.-Biography:...

, Woody Shaw
Woody Shaw
Woody Shaw was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and band leader, often referred to as the "last innovator" in the jazz trumpet lineage...

, Valery Ponomarev
Valery Ponomarev
Valery Ponomarev, Russian: Вале́рий Миха́йлович Пономарёв, Valery Mikhaylovich Ponomaryov, is a Russian born jazz trumpeter. He has lived in the United States since 1973.-Career:...

, Charles Tolliver
Charles Tolliver
Charles Tolliver is an American jazz trumpeter and composer. Tolliver was born in Jacksonville, Florida, where, as a child, he received his first trumpet as a gift from his grandmother. He attended Howard University in the early 1960s as a pharmacy student, when he decided to pursue music as a...


Trombone
Steve Davis
Steve Davis (trombonist)
Steve Davis is an American jazz trombonist who plays hard bop, post-bop, and standards. His primary influences are J. J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, Slide Hampton, Jackie McLean, Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, McCoy Tyner and John Coltrane.Davis was raised in...

, Robin Eubanks
Robin Eubanks
Robin Eubanks is an American jazz and jazz fusion slide trombonist, the brother of guitarist Kevin Eubanks and trumpeter Duane Eubanks.-Biography:...

, Curtis Fuller
Curtis Fuller
Curtis DuBois Fuller is an American jazz trombonist, known as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and contributor to many classic jazz recordings.-Biography:...

, Frank Lacy
Frank Lacy
Ku-umba Frank Lacy is an American jazz trombonist.His father was a teacher who had played guitar with Illinois Jacquet, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, and Arnett Cobb; his mother sang gospel music. He played piano from age eight, and played trumpet, euphonium, and tuba before settling on trombone at age 16...

, Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim Williams is a folk musician currently based in Los Angeles, CA. He has released two LPs, two EPs and several 7" singles on Dovecote Records and is currently signed with Modern Outsider Records as a part of the band Soft Swells.-Biography:...


Bass
Spanky DeBrest
Spanky DeBrest
Jimmy "Spanky" DeBrest was an American jazz bassist.DeBrest played with Lee Morgan in his early years in Philadelphia. In 1957 he was a member of Ray Draper's Quintet, Jackie McLean, pianist Mal Waldron, and drummer Ben Dixon.He played with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers until 1958, including...

, Charles Fambrough
Charles Fambrough
Charles Fambrough was a Jazz bassist, composer and record producer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Fambrough was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers during the early 1980s...

, Dennis Irwin
Dennis Irwin
Dennis Irwin was an American jazz double bassist. He toured and recorded with John Scofield and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra among others, and played on over 500 albums.-Biography:...

, Jymie Merritt
Jymie Merritt
Jymie Merritt is an American jazz double-bassist.-Biography:Raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he has worked in jazz, rhythm and blues, and blues. He has worked with Bull Moose Jackson, B. B...

, Curly Russell, Victor Sproles
Victor Sproles
Victor Sproles is a US jazz bassist.Sproles worked in the 1950s with Red Rodney and Ira Sullivan and appears on the Sun Ra recordings Super-Sonic Jazz, Sound of Joy and Deep Purple....

, Doug Watkins
Doug Watkins
Douglas Watkins was an American hard bop jazz double bassist from Detroit.-Biography:An original member of the Jazz Messengers, he later played in Horace Silver's quintet and freelanced with Gene Ammons, Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins,...

, Wilbur Ware
Wilbur Ware
Wilbur Ware was an American jazz double-bassist known for his hard bop percussive style.Born in Chicago, Ware taught himself to play banjo and bass. In the 1940s, he worked with Stuff Smith, Sonny Stitt and Roy Eldridge. In the 1950s, Ware played with Eddie Vinson, Art Blakey, and Buddy DeFranco...

, Reggie Workman
Reggie Workman
Reginald "Reggie" Workman is an American avant-garde jazz and hard bop double bassist, recognized for his work with both John Coltrane and Art Blakey....

, Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke is an American jazz musician and composer known for his innovative and influential work on double bass and electric bass guitar as well as for his numerous film and television scores...


Guitar
Bobby Broom
Bobby Broom
Bobby Broom , birthname Robert Broom, Jr., is an American jazz guitarist, composer and educator born and raised in New York City. Broom performs and records with jazz saxophone legend Sonny Rollins as well as his Bobby Broom Trio and the Deep Blue Organ Trio...

, Kevin Eubanks
Kevin Eubanks
Kevin Tyrone Eubanks is an American jazz guitarist and composer who was the leader of the Tonight Show Band with host Jay Leno from 1995 to 2010. He also led The Primetime Band on the short-lived The Jay Leno Show.- Personal background :Eubanks was born into a musical family...


Awards

  • Jazz Mobile Development and Preservation of Jazz (1970)
  • Newport Jazz Festival Hall of Fame
    Newport Jazz Festival
    The Newport Jazz Festival is a music festival held every summer in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. It was established in 1954 by socialite Elaine Lorillard, who, together with husband Louis Lorillard, financed the festival for many years. The couple hired jazz impresario George Wein to organize the...

     (1976)
  • Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame
    Down Beat
    Down Beat is an American magazine devoted to "jazz, blues and beyond" to indicate its expansion beyond the jazz realm which it covered exclusively in previous years. The publication was established in 1934 in Chicago, Illinois...

     Reader's Choice Award (1981)
  • Smithsonian Performing Arts Certificate of Appreciation (1982)
  • Lee Morgan Memorial Award (1982)
  • Jazz Hall of Fame
    Jazz hall of fame
    The term Jazz hall of fame can refer to the following institutions:* Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame * The Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame , a defunct annual recognition by a non-profit organization based in North San Diego County, California...

     Induction (1982)
  • Grammy Award
    Grammy Award
    A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

     Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group (1984) for the album New York Scene
  • Jazznote Award (1986)
  • Doctorate of Music (1987; Berklee College of Music
    Berklee College of Music
    Berklee College of Music, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. Known primarily as a school for jazz, rock and popular music, it also offers college-level courses in a wide range of contemporary and historic styles, including hip...

    )
  • Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award (1991)
  • Grammy Hall of Fame Induction for the album Moanin (2001)
  • Pittsburgh Jazz Festival Award
  • Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
    Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
    The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...

    (2005; awarded posthumously)

External links