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A reissue, Reflections Of Buhaina contains two albums: one by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and one by the Bill Hardman Quintet. Study In Rhythm (Elektra 120 and Savoy MG 1217) features trumpeter Hardman and saxophonist Jackie McLean as Jazz Messengers. The Bill Hardman Quintet (Savoy MG 12170) features the trumpeter with Sonny Red, Ronnie Mathews, Doug Watkins and Jimmy Cobb. They’re performing the last four tracks listed below.
“Reflections of Buhaina” changes meter as well as drum set textures along its lyrical path. Abdullah Ibn Buhaina was Blakey’s Muslim name. The piece settles with the same format as each of the Messengers’ other tunes; however, the leader takes an extended drum solo near the end. That, in effect, leads to the other title piece, “Study in Rhythm,” which runs over four minutes with Blakey at the drum set in stereo, alone and unencumbered. Using call & response patterns, syncopated repetition, and cowbell & woodblock for effect, he explores Afro-Cuban rhythms in detail. Dampening the drumheads in different places, Blakey alters their (indefinite) pitch rapidly with distinction. Elsewhere, the leader’s loping ballad “Mirage” slows the mood and emphasizes the lyrical work of his two front line soloists. Hardman is at his best on the ballads. With his quintet, he performs “Angel Eyes” at a serene, slow tempo. “Jo B.” moves at a moderate tempo; however, the treatment is still that of a ballad. Hardman and Sonny Red worked well together and produced the same kinds of respect for melody. “With Malice Toward None” stands out as yet another slow ballad that shows off Hardman’s bright tone.
Standouts on Reflections Of Buhaina are Jackie McLean and Ronnie Mathews. McLean’s solos on each of the first six tracks stand out, as does Mathews’ surging piano solo on “Jo B.” The album comes with an 18-page booklet by drummer Kenny Washington, filled with black & white photos, comments, analysis and biographical information. For work that has long been out of print, these two up-tempo bebop sessions afford the jazz fan an opportunity to fill in some of the missing pieces.
Track Listing: Casino; The Biddie Griddies; Potpourri ; Ugh!; Mirage; Reflections of Buhaina; Study in Rhythm; Angel Eyes; Jo B.; With Malice Toward None; Capers.
Personnel: Art Blakey- drums; Bill Hardman- trumpet; Jackie McLean, Sonny Red [Sylvester Kyner]- alto saxophone; Sam Dockery, Ronnie Mathews- piano; Spanky DeBrest, Doug Watkins- bass; Jimmy Cobb- drums; Bob Cunningham- bass on
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.