2 March 2008
ART BLAKEY & THE JAZZ MESSENGERS - BUHAINA
Art Blakey for Prestige from 1973.
Woody Shaw (tp)Carter Jefferson(ts)Cedar Walton(p)Michel Howell(g)Mickey Bass(b)Art Blakey(d)Tony Waters(cga)Jon Hendricks(vcl)
More Woody on this underrated 70s session from Blakey and co."Mission Eternal" was a big dance cut for those with elastic legs back in the day at the Electric Ballroom and if that's your bag then make sure you check out "A Chant For Bu" and "One For Trane" which both move into similar fusion territory.
During the decade of the 1970s, American audiences abandoned acoustic jazz, and Blakey struggled to retain first-class musicians and the support of record labels and club owners in the U.S. Setting aside his neo-bop classicism, which he pioneered, Blakey took in band members whose tastes were decidedly more pop than jazz. Chuck Mangione's little-known stay in the Messengers's trumpet chair was perhaps the ultimate reflection of the breakdown in the cultural concensus about the elements of authentic jazz. Yet for Blakey afficianados, the 1970s have much to offer, as this and his two other lps on Prestige demonstrate. Maybe a cut below Blakey's best recordings of the 1960s, these albums nevertheless show an awareness of the avant-garde, a taste for Latin beats and inspired performances by strong sidemen. Cedar Walton anchors the group on piano and contributes some strong compositions, notably Mission Eternal. Carter Jefferson, an inventive saxophonist who deserves wider appreciation, strikes a good balance between fidelity to standards and the inevitable search for new sounds. His solo on "Gertrude's Bounce" is brutish yet melodic. Vocalist Jon Hendricks, who joins the group on two cuts, is mesmerizing on the jazz standard "Moanin'" and ghostly on "Along Came Betty," an original by Benny Golson that Hendricks put lyrics to. And conga player Tony Waters is steady throughout, no small achievement given Blakey's commanding presence on drums.
Ripped @320 from the original vinyl.