Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers
(Note . . . This week's FlipSide is presented by Jerry Leyendecker)
Blakey made a name for himself in the 1940s in the big bands of Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine. He worked with bebop musicians Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. In the mid-1950s Horace Silver and Blakey formed "The Jazz Messengers", a group that the drummer was associated with for the next 35 years. "The Jazz Messengers" were formed as a collective of contemporaries, but over the years the band became known as an incubator for young talent, including Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis. The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz calls The Jazz Messengers "the archetypal hard-bop group of the late 50s".
Blakey assumed an aggressive swing style of contemporaries Chick Webb, Sid Catlett and Ray Bauduc early in his career, and is known, alongside Kenny Clarke and Max Roach as one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming. Max Roach described him thus:
"Art was an original… He's the only drummer whose time I recognize immediately. And his signature style was amazing; we used to call him 'Thunder.' When I first met him on 52d Street in 1944, he already had the polyrhythmic thing down. Art was perhaps the best at maintaining independence with all four limbs. He was doing it before anybody was."
The legacy of Blakey and his bands is not only the music they produced, but also the opportunities they provided for several generations of jazz musicians.The Jazz Messengers nurtured and influenced many of the key figures of the Hard Bop movement of the late 1950s to early 1960s, and of the Neo traditionalist movement of the 1980s and 1990s. Both were return to roots movements for jazz: Hard Bop in counterpoint to the 1950s
Blakey was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame (in 1981), the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 1998 and 2001), and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
(Material source wiki)