Great jazz from a great drummer!!
John Yax | Ann Arbor, MI USA | 12/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first and only Art Blakey CD I own. However, based on how good it is, I most definitely plan on getting more. Of course, there is the well loved song "Moanin'" with it's sumptous melody. Another favorite off this album is "Lester Left Town," which also has a very cool and catchy melody. The solos off this track are also amazing. The only track not written by a member on this CD is "A Night in Tunisia", but the 9+ minute version they play is quite worth it. Art goes nuts near the end and the percussion along with the drums compliment each other well. Another favorite "Dat Dere" is well played with impressive trumpet and piano solos. The two extra tracks, "Mosaic" and "Free for All" are also well welcomed and a nice addition to the already great collection of songs. If you already have most of these songs on other CD's, than this CD is probably not necessary for you, but if you are new to Art Blakey, this is a good place to start!!"
Preferable to "Moanin'" Session
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 05/31/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a Blakey newbie, may as well pick this up in place of his popular "Moanin'" session, since the first two tracks are from that date. But Blakey is as hard to represent on a single album as Ellington, Coltrane, Miles, or Sinatra. Moreover, you have to go beyond the Blue Note catalog to get the big picture. Take just some of the trumpet players in Blakey's units--Clifford Brown, Bill Hardman, Donald Byrd, Joe Gordon, Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan, Freddy Hubbard, Valery Ponomarev, Wynton Marsalis, Terrence Blanchard. Each can be heard on individual Blakey recordings that outshine this collection. And the list of saxophonists is no less impressive (make sure you have plenty of Hank Mobley in your Blakey collection). Personally, I'd recommend "The Jazz Messengers" on Columbia ahead of this Blue Note sampler as a more aesthetically satisfying introduction to the group."
A nice, quick intro to Blakey
Andrzej Grutza | San Francisco, CA USA | 09/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD was one of my first introductions to Art Blakey when I bought it in 1989 and I've probably listened to it hundreds of times over the years. From the gospel strains of "Moanin'" to the busy "Free For All", this is a dip into vintage Blakey territory, including a killer version of "A Night in Tunisia" punctuated by twisting Lee Morgan and Wayne Shorter solos and the patented thundering Art Blakey drumming style. It gives some idea of why he was nicknamed "The Volcano." An offering of only seven tracks covering some of the Messengers' best years (1958-64), is not truly an all-inclusive "Best of...on Blue Note." Blakey (and most of his sidemen, some highly notable ones not represented here at all) released many classics on Blue Note from the mid 50s until well over a decade later. Still, this release is a reasonable introduction to Blakey's Messengers in lieu of exploring his work further. Sit back and enjoy an hour of some definitive hard bop."