Art Blakey was an exceptional musician, but not only because he succeeded in recruiting the best players to join his Messengers. He also had the skill to blaze new trails through forms of jazz that continuously evolved. Beginning in the Forties with the big bands of Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine, he went on to play with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie… And then Blakey met up with Horace Silver in the mid-Fifties to found the Jazz Messengers. It was with this band that Blakey would open his arms to all the best young musicians of this generation: he nurtured the likes of Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and many others. The first two sides of this album give an all too brief illustration of this aspect of the drummer, while sides three and four feature the inventiveness and rhythmical sense of a great percussionist who never renounced his African origins.
The history of music shows us that different kinds and forms follow each other. And that the latest trend overshadows the one that came before it. Today it's difficult to say exactly which trend dominates, as there are so many music currents that overlap and intersect. Mainstream exists no longer. Yet one thing is certain: each music form is built on the music that precedes it. There would be no jazz without classical music, no rock without blues, no rock without jazz, no rap without soul music, no sampling without the riffs of either soul or rock… and therefore, inside each genre you find different chapters in the history of music. And that is why it is so important to understand their origins: they shed the light that is necessary for an understanding of the music born every day.
The richness of jazz lies at the origin of so much music today that it is essential to discover this creative wealth. The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz bring to light those 20th century creations that still exert an influence on the majority of musicians today — whether they are aware of it or not.
The Essential Works of Masters of Jazz gather the fundamental creations of the music of today.