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Video: Art Blakey, Drumming and Moving Jazz Forward

 
Below is Art Blakey’s Jazz Messenger’s live performance of Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia,” as posted on YouTube by Art Jazz1. The video (without audio) is used in the brief description of Blakey and his accomplishments above. The video features Personnel are Blakey on drums, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Bobby Timmons on piano, Benny Golson on tenor sax and Jaymie Merritt on bass.

The video briefly discusses Blakey’s importance, which is twofold: He was a major influence on drumming and a conduit through which many well-known musicians found their legs in jazz.

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Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers

Here are some of the sources I used. Wikipedia and a site dedicated to Blakey provide background and biographical information for Blakey, who was from Pittsburgh. Bob Perkins at WRTI discussed the similarities and differences of Blakey and Duke Ellington as mentors. Rick Mattingly at the Percussive Arts Society excerpted a comment Blakey made to Modern Drummer’s Chip Stern which I in turn used in the video. Mattingly also described Blakey’s style:

But despite his technical abilities, Blakey was known for a more straight-ahead style of timekeeping than most of his bebop contemporaries. He typically maintained a strong hi-hat on beats 2 and 4, made sure there was no doubt as to where “1” was, and instead of setting up sections and phrases with elaborate fills, he would lead into them with powerful press rolls. Blakey is also credited with originating the oft-used cross-stick on beat 4 and of inspiring the development of riveted cymbals by hanging his key ring over the wingnut of his ride cymbal to produce a sizzle effect.

Perhaps Blakey’s highest profile song is “Moanin’ ,” which was posted at The Daily Music Break some time back. Other important Blakey-associated songs are “Blues March” and “Along Came Betty.” I phrase it that way because Blakey wrote none of the three. “Moanin’ ” was written by Bobby Timmons. Golson wrote “Blues March” and “Along Came Betty.”

Editor’s Pandering: If you are interested in Art Blakey, please check out the items below. Going from this site directly to Amazon without any interim stops to buy one of these items — or anything else — supports the site because we get a small percentage of the purchase price. The price you pay remains the same, so please consider it.



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The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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