Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – Moanin’


Art Blakey stares defiantly on the cover of this essential hard bop album of the 50’s jazz era. This is one of my favourite jazz albums because Blakey uses a lot of shade on the kit, the ensemble is also top-notch and tight. Heavy on the blues and gospel but also experimental which can be seen in the drum suite that is presented with a quasi-marching band track, some thunderous claps and hi hat trickery along with a number of intense textures.

My favourite track on the album though would have to be the opener Moanin’. The climax at the end is superbly crafted and given just enough emphasis to show the intellectual and the spiritual side of this incredible band. I’ll finish up with an excerpt from the liner notes discussing Blakey’s tour of France which, needless to say, speaks for itself.

“The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is how I’m going to preach to those people over there when we don’t all speak the same language.”

Then Art provided his own eloquent and appropriate answer as he grinned and added,

“But who needs words, man – they’ll get the message!”


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