Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Roots and Herbs
The fact that this music was delayed in being released should in no way suggest that it is inferior to that which found its way to the market in a timely fashion because Roots and Herbs contains some of the best Jazz Messenger work of the period, particularly in light of Wayne Shorter’s immeasurable writing contributions. For starters, there’s the brisk Charleston vamp that propels the head of "Ping Pong," not to be outdone by the classic "United," a tune which has inspired other interpretations over the years from such players as Woody Shaw and pianist George Colligan.
As strong as the material is here, additionally the soloists are nothing short of being profound. Morgan is his usual fiery self, while Shorter unleashes some searing improvisations of his own, using textural nuances to great effect. As a bonus, there are three additional tracks included on the disc, including alternate versions of "United," with Walter Davis, Jr. spelling Timmons on piano, and "Ping Pong." New 24-bit remastering brings further sonic clarity that even surpasses the job Mosaic did for the previously mentioned boxed set, making this the definitive reissue of some quintessential material.
Track Listing: Ping Pong, Roots & Herbs, The Back Sliders, United, Look at the Birdie, Master Mind, The Back Sliders (alt. take), Ping Pong (alt. version), United (alt. version) (62:09)
Personnel: Lee Morgan- trumpet, Wayne Shorter- tenor saxophone, Bobby Timmons- piano, Walter Davis, Jr.- piano (tracks 2 & 4 only), Jymie Merritt- bass, Art Blakey- drums
Record Label: Blue Note Records