A pair of great albums from Art Blakey
and John Handy! First up is Cubop – a rare Jubilee Records album from Art Blakey
– one of his non-Blue Note sets from the late 50s, cut during the year of 1957 – a time when the Jazz Messengers were hopping around a lot of different labels! This version of the group is searing and soulful – and features Johnny Griffin on tenor, Bill Hardman on trumpet, Sam Dockery on piano, and Spanky DeBrest on bass – plus the unusual addition of Sabu Martinez on conga, rocking and rollicking alongside Blakey
's drums in an amazing way! The set's quite different than some of Art
's "with percussion" dates for Blue Note – as Sabu's congas kind of just set an extra fire to the hardbop groove – giving it a slight Latin flavor, but more than anything, just getting in a wicked edge that really cooks up the session. Griffin is great, as always, and the album features four long tracks "Woddyn You", "Sakeena", "Shorty", and "Dawn On The Desert". Next is Jazz John Handy III one of the few beautiful early albums cut by John Handy for Roulette – and an obscure session that has him playing alto with a quartet that includes a young Walter Bishop Jr. on piano. Handy here is fresh from his work with Mingus – and his alto is filled with fire and emotion, yet also touched by a great deal of warm soufulness. His work with Bishop on the album hearkens towards later directions in 70s soul jazz – but it's also firmly rooted in a modernist hardbop vein. Titles include "Strugglin", "No Smiles Please", "Blues For MF", and "Afternoon Outing".
(Cover has ring & edge wear, and a cut corner.)