Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
Format: LP, Vinyl
Recorded on 30th October 1958, ‘Moanin’ is often cited as one of Blakey’s greatest studio recordings, as well as a Blue Note and Hard Bop classic. It features six tunes, four composed by Benny Golson, one by pianist Bobby Timmons – the monumental ‘Moanin’ and one standard the Harold Arden and Johnny Mercer penned ‘Come Rain Or Come Shine’. The popularity of ‘Moann’ with its clipped beat and handclapping Gospel feel is the archetypal Blue Note track, Lee Morgan’s solo is punchy, tenor man Golson exudes Soul, whilst Timmons’ piano has a jaunty carefree feel. Indeed, such was the cut’s influence that ‘Moanin’ supplanted the original album’s title of Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers. ‘Are You Real’ is the first of four Benny Golson compositions, it is a fine catchy tune performed to perfection and features some sublime ensemble playing. The slowish blues ‘Along Came Betty’ is a superb vehicle for intense blues inflected solos first from Morgan and then from Golson’s rich tenor. ‘The Drum Thunder Suite’ is primarily a showcase for Blakey’s considerable percussion skills, though it has a gorgeous melody too. ‘Blues March’ has that military marching band beat but has a standard blues feel to it as well. The sixth and last track is a wonderful breezy Hard Bop version of ‘Come Rain Or Come Shine’ that skips along merrily. Benny Golson was only with the Jazz Messengers briefly and ‘Moanin’ was his only studio recording with them, but it is a timeless testament to both his contribution and the brilliance of one of the finest groups in Jazz history. With Jymie Merritt in the bass chair, many consider this line-up as the finest the Jazz Messengers ever enjoyed, though the early 60’s iterations featuring Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and Cedar Walton might give them a run for their money.