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Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers: Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk (Deluxe Edition)

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Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers: Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk (Deluxe Edition)
Rhino's new series of reissues of historic albums from the late 1950s/early 1960s hit the ground running in 2020 with John Coltrane's Giant Steps (Atlantic, 1960). Spring 2022 has already seen Charles Mingus' Trio (Jubilee, 1957) and Coltrane's My Favorite Things (Atlantic, 1961).

Hot on their heels comes Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk (Alantic, 1958).

Each reissue is a double disc. Disc one contains the original album. Disc two comprises outtakes, some previously released, others available for the first time. All the but one track on disc two of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk is previously unreleased. More important than the outtakes, however, is the remastering of the original discs. The sonics on each one have been substantially improved. The sound is bigger, the musicians' presence more up close and personal.

A hard bop classic, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk was the only occasion Monk recorded with the Jazz Messengers. But Monk and Blakey were long time collaborators. One of their earliest sessions was for Blue Note in 1947, a series of singles that were later reissued on Monk's Genius Of Modern Music Volume One (1951). Not long before the session with the Jazz Messengers, Blakey was the drummer on another landmark Monk album, Monk's Music (Riverside, 1957).

The Messengers on the album are completed by tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, trumpeter Bill Hardman and bassist Spanky DeBrest. The band (it had a succession of pianists) was shortlived and is not among Blakey's best known. But it swung like the clappers. In Joe Goldberg's Jazz Masters Of The 50s (MacMillan, 1965), Griffin is quoted saying: "We may not have been the best band in the world, but we had more fun than anybody. A ball every night, putting each other on, playing whatever we wanted." Guest pianist Monk fit right into the vibe, and along with the swing, a sense of fun runs right through the album.

Much fuss has been made about how hard it was for horn players to navigate Monk's compositions. But Griffin never had any difficulty. In 1957 he was the first-call dep on those occasions when Coltrane was unable to make a gig during the Monk quartet's extended residency at New York's Five Spot. A no-nonsense, visceral player, Griffin just turned up and turned it out. He does the same on Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk. He even wrote the closing track, "Purple Shades." The other five tracks are Monk's "Evidence," "In Walked Bud," "Blue Monk," "I Mean You" and "Rhythm-A-Ning." Great album. Great new edition.

Track Listing

Disc 1: Evidence; In Walked Bud; Blue Monk; I Mean You; Rhythm-A-Ning; Purple Shades. Disc 2: Evidence (Take 2); In Walked Bud (Take 2); Blue Monk (Take 9); I Mean You (Take 3); Rhythm-A- Ning (Take 2); Purple Shades (Take 4).

Personnel

Johnny Griffin
saxophone, tenor
Bill Hardman
trumpet
Spanky DeBrest
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk (Deluxe Edition) | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Rhino


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