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Album Review

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Just Coolin'


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Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Just Coolin'
Great moments play all over Just Coolin', the new archival Blue Note Art Blakey release from 1959, recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's studio with Lee Morgan, Bobby Timmons and Jymie Merritt. For a bit of history, let's just point out that Hank Mobley was returning to the tenor chair he held from 1951-56, but which had just recently (for back then) been occupied by Shorter, and before him Benny Golson. Not the slightest expectation here. And should there have been any expectations, well, that was Blakey's soul and how his soul popped in the pocket along to it, which makes Just Coolin' if not your never-before-released reckoning, then the damn coolest way to spend the time waiting or living though one.

Because as expected, the drummer expected your A-game under every shuffling circumstance. So Morgan lights it up every chance he gets. Mobley slides right on in as expected. Timmons flashes the same blues cognizance of majors, minors and their subordinates as he does on Moanin' (Blue Note, 1958) and contributes the only known performance of "Quick Trick" a bluesy blow-session if there ever was. Merritt is Meritt, assured and unassuming but ever-present and ever ready to take point or lay back and groove.

And Blakey? He's the soulful Buddha making sure the bop is just right. Tight and tensile. A bop of lasting beauty, of innumerable listens. Sixty years on and here's one of those longed for lost stops along the way. Just Coolin'. It feels alive. Perfect for today's moment. Welcome. Here's to more.

Track Listing

Hipsippy Blues; Close Your Eyes; Jimerick; Quick Trick; M&M; Just Coolin’.


Art Blakey: drums; Hank Mobley: saxophone, tenor; Lee Morgan: trumpet; Bobby Timmons: piano; Jymie Merritt: bass.

Album information

Title: Just Coolin' | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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