|Valey Ponomarev (trumpet), David Schnitter (tenor), Bobby Watson (alto),
Mulgrew Miller (piano 5, 6, 7), John Hicks (piano 8, 9, 10 October),
Lonnie Plaxico (bass)|
Donald Harrison (alto) and Ralph Peterson (drums) -- 5, 6, October
Javon Jackson (tenor) and Louis Hayes (drums) -- 7, 8, October
Gary Bartz (alto) and Ben Riley (drums) -- 9, 10 October
In 1955 Blakey formed the Jazz Messengers with Kenny Dorham (succeeded by Donald Byrd), Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, and Doug Watkins. When Silver left the band Blakey took over the group¹s leadership and the rest is jazz history. Through the years the drummer lead a series of bands under the Messenger banner that played some of the most exciting and satisfying music ever heard, propelled by his unique explosive polyrhythmic drumming. The group featuring Lee Morgan, Benny Golson and Bobby Timmons scored a popular hit with the latter¹s Moanin¹ that almost single handedly developed the style known as hard bop and insured the group's success for years to come. Another classic Messenger lineup featuring Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton and Reggie Workman, from 1962 to 1965 led the music into a new more sophisticated compositional field.
The Jazz Messengers earned a reputation as a jazz university, training young soloists in the art of improvising and leading a band. Some of the many "graduates" include Bill Hardman, Chuck Mangione, Woody Shaw, Eddie Henderson, Walter Davis, Jr., Keith Jarrett, John Hicks, George Cables, Gary Bartz, Jackie McLean, Billy Harper, Steve Turre and many others. In the 1980¹s a new golden age of the Jazz Messengers was initiated with the induction of Wynton Marsalis into the group, leading to the "young lions" phase which rejuvenated the music with talents like Branford Marsalis, Terrence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Wallace Roney, Kenny Garrett, Mulgrew Miller, Robin and Kevin Eubanks, Javon Jackson and Brian Lynch following, but before that the scene was set by one of Blakey¹s most swinging units featuring Valery, Ponomarev, David Schnitter, Bobby Watson, James Williams and Dennis Irwin which held down the hard bop fort when jazz was waning under attack by the outside forces of fusion and pop.
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