445

Art Blakey: A Night At Birdland, Vols. 1 and 2

By

Sign in to view read count
We should all stand up right now and applaud Alfred Lion and Rudy Van Gelder of Blue Note Records for rolling the tapes at Birdland on a February night in 1954.

Lion and Van Gelder captured drummer Art Blakey's quintet at the New York nightclub on a night when they were really cooking. Because of their efforts, listeners have been able to relive A Night at Birdland whenever they wanted to. Now, Van Gelder has digitally remastered the two-volume set.

Originally, nine songs recorded that night were released on three 10-inch records. Two years later, an alternate take of Horace Silver's "Quicksilver" had been added to the expanded 12-inch format. In 1975, three additional songs and an alternate track of "Wee-Dot" were added to the two albums.

Volume Two features the quote from Blakey that became the credo for what would become the Jazz Messengers: "I'm going to stay with the youngsters. When these get too old, I'm going to get some younger ones. It keeps the mind active."

The two discs (sold separately) have some amazing performances from Blakey's quintet, including their interpretations of classics like "A Night in Tunisia," "Now's the Time" and "Confirmation" (also, check out the drum break on "Mayreh" and "The Way You Look Tonight").

"Once in a While" features the incredible talent of Brown, who's able to create a gentle melody, then weave in and out of the chords in the cut-time section with the greatest of ease. Meanwhile, Lou Donaldson and Clifford Brown lay down monster solos behind Silver's chords on the improvised tune simply titled "Blues," the backbone of what would be coined hard bop. Silver even takes a romp around the keys.

"Wee-Dot" and "Quicksilver" each have alternate takes, but the master version of “Wee-Dot” has more prodding from Blakey, as well as the alternate version of "Quicksilver," which has a faster tempo. Curly Russell is given a chance to solo on both alternates. Listening to these two songs side-by-side with their alternate tracks shows the quintet's amazing ability to create something new for the same tune.

To put it simply, Blakey and company had clicked that night at Birdland.

Reprinted with permission from The Villages Daily Sun, Lady Lake, Fla.

Track Listing: Disc 1: Announcement by Pee Wee Marquette; Split Kick; Once in a While; Quicksilver; A Night in Tunisia; Mayreh; Wee-Dot (alternate take)*; Blues (improvisation)*; Disc 2: Wee-Dot; If I Had You; Quicksilver (alternate take); Now's the Time; Confirmation; The Way You Look Tonight*; Lou's Blues* (* bonus track not on original 12-inch album)

Personnel: Clifford Brown, trumpet; Lou Donaldson, alto saxophone; Horace Silver, piano; Curly Russell, bass; Art Blakey, drums

Title: A Night At Birdland, Vols. 1 and 2 | Year Released: 2001


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson" CD/LP/Track Review Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 2, 2017
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Il sistema periodico" CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "As If By Magic" CD/LP/Track Review As If By Magic
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.