5 classic Blue Note albums from Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers – packaged in a single set, with tiny LP-styled covers! First up is one of a number of Art Blakey albums titled after "Night In Tunisia" – and most likely the best! The tune is a perfect fit for the Blakey Jazz Messengers format – long, rhythmic, really stretching out, yet allowing plenty of space for the horn players to solo. Players include Bobby Timmons on piano, Lee Morgan on trumpet, and Wayne Shorter on tenor – a killer lineup that's in really classic form here – driven on nicely by Blakey's drums and bass work by Jymie Merritt. Titles include "Night In Tunisia", with Blakey thundering through impeccably – plus the tracks "Yama", "Kozo's Waltz", and a version of Timmons' great "So Tired". Next is Freedom Rider – hard driving bop from the group that practically created "Hard Bop". This one features the Morgan/
Merritt lineup, and classic "Freedom Rider" Blakey solo. Morgan and Shorter are at their boldest and baddest on cuts like "Tell It Like Is" and "Petty Larceny" and Bobby Timmons is, as always, funky and soulful. A monster session – and darn tough to find on vinyl! Buhaina's Delight is a landmark recording by a whole new chapter in Art Blakey's career! During the early 60s, Blakey expanded the Jazz Messengers from a quintet to an incredibly tight sextet – adding in the trombone of Curtis Fuller for an extra-punched up frontline that also included Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Wayne Shorter on tenor, who had returned to the group after a short departure. The band was augmented by the wonderfully lyrical and soulful piano of a young Cedar Walton – who brought a strong degree of sophistication, and who was a perfect interpreter of Shorter's rich writing talents. The whole group performs together perfectly on this wonderful (and oft-overlooked) session – especial
ly on the tracks "Shaky Jake", "Backstage Sally", and "Bu's Delight". African Beat is a slammin' LP of "jazz meets percussion", hosted by the great Art Blakey, and featuring jazz players like Curtis Fuller, Yusef Lateef, and Ahmed Abdul-Malik – plus a host of percussionists that include Solomon Ilori, Montego Joe, Chief Bey, and Garvin Masseaux. Blakey skirts nicely between the two camps, and although the record probably has more of an Afro-percussion feel than a jazz one, Lateef and Fuller blow through the mix with some nice nice solos. Titles include "Tobi Ilu", "Love, The Mystery Of", and "Obirin African". Last up is Free For All – a masterpiece of focus and direction, and a classic set from the sextet lineup of the Jazz Messengers! The album's a real feather in the mid-60s cap of Art Blakey –and features an expanded sound from the quintet era of his group – with a sublime horn lineup that features Wayne Shorter on tenor, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Curtis Fuller on trombone – all gliding along these soaring piano lines from Cedar Walton! Reggie Workman works some real magic on bass, too – and the tracks are all very long – with titles that include "Free For All" and "Hammer Head" – both written by Shorter – plus "The Core", by Hubbard, and a beautiful version of Clare Fischer's "Pensativa".