ART BLAKEY — Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers (aka Moanin')

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ART BLAKEY - Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers (aka Moanin') cover
4.35 | 25 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1959

Filed under Hard Bop


A1 Moanin' 9:30
A2 Are You Real 4:45
A3 Along Came Betty 6:05
The Drum Thunder (Miniature) Suite (7:15)
B1.1 First Theme: Drum Thunder
B1.2 Second Theme: Cry A Blue Tear
B1.3 Third Theme: Harlem's Disciples
B2 Blues March 6:15
B3 Come Rain Or Come Shine 5:45


- Lee Morgan / trumpet
- Benny Golson / tenor saxophone
- Bobby Timmons / piano
- Jymie Merritt / bass
- Art Blakey / drums

About this release

Blue Note ‎– BLP 4003 (US)

Recorded on October 30, 1958,Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey

Reissued as "Moanin'" later same year (Blue Note ‎– BST 4003)

Thanks to kazuhiro for the addition and snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Bobby Timmons the pianist will always be remembered as the man who wrote the Jazz classic "Moanin" becoming the most memorable tune from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers which was recorded in October 1958. There are two takes available, the master and also an alternate with the master being slightly better due to Lee Morgan's trumpet solo within this 9 1/2 minute classic from the late fifties. Pure Hard Bop by none other than the masters of the genre with another five compositions within the album and yet Benny Golson who is on tenor saxophone wrote the bulk of material composing four of the tunes and not Bobby Timmons with "Come Rain or Shine" being an Arlen and Mercer tune which finishes the album off. Benny only recorded the one album with The Jazz Messengers and was not with them long but as for the others they are old hands with Art except for Jymie Merritt on bass who had just joined the band and he had been working down south predominately with BB King but found time to play with the likes of Sonny Stitt, the great Lester Young and the trumpet wiz Roy Eldridge before joining The Jazz Messengers and recording this all time classic. Typical Jazz Messenger line-up being a Quintet with two horns and the rythmn section which is under pinned by the fabulous drumming of Art Blakey who as per usual keeps that rythmn right in time with a great driving beat and that is just not the title track either but the lot. The album was actually issued without a title but later became known as Moanin' due to the tunes popularity and with this studio album really being the first actual Jazz Messenger release since the Horace Silver days as the others were either live or drum based percussion albums on Blue Note, so in a way this album could be seen as the launch pad for the band with Art Blakey as leader, with many a great album to follow still.

The album starts with the best and perhaps one of the most catchiest Jazz compositions ever written because with that funky piano and horn intro and then the rythmn that Art is pounding which he does not actually stray from at all gives the tune one great driving beat with all the band getting a shot at a solo except for Art and it is Lee Morgan who is first with an absolute pearler and does he make his trumpet wail at times with Benny Golson just as good on tenor. Bobby Timmons just keeps it all moving and swinging with his turn on piano with Jymie providing a lovely short one on bass to bring back that unforgettable theme. Jazz History most certainly and although all the others say that the Golson compositions are better and more complex it is "Moanin" that sticks and even people who are not really Jazz listeners stop and say what a great tune. It is all Benny Golson tunes bar the last which follow with 'Are You Real" following with the whole band coming straight in with Benny playing a great intricate solo with Lee Morgan following on trumpet and just listen to Art's drum roll when the soloists take their turn, sublime to say the least on this great up-tempo tune. "Along Came Betty" is written for a walk with its blues feel and although things are at at fairly slow tempo it is played beautifully with Lee and Benny providing the bulk of substance with their solos which are just right and keep that stride or jaunt just at the right walking time. "Drum Thunder ( Miniature) Suite" which is in three parts and is a chance for Art Blakey to show his stuff with mallets used at the first section to provide that exact thunderous opening with the horns providing a link but things change in the 2nd part of the suite ( Cry a Blue Tear) where Art changes rthymn with a slight Latin approach and just provides support but finishes up the suite (Harlems Disciples) with a great groove from the band and Art is pounding those skins in between to thunderous levels. Two more compositions with "Blues March" being precisely what its name states with a marching blues beat with Art putting that marching rthymn between each soloists shot with Lee followed by Benny but Bobby Timmons is superb with his input when his turn comes on piano. The old standard "Come Rain or Come Shine" is the closer and given a great light treatment retaining the original melody.

One of the first Jazz albums I ever bought and the copy on cd that I used was released way back in 1987 with the alternate take of Moanin' straight after the master. Yes they messed around with the track sequencing from the original issue but this time it is no matter for me as "Moanin" is still one of my all time favourite numbers in Jazz and hearing it twice in a row with the benefit of a slightly different version is pure hard boppin' joy. Absolutely essential for any Jazz collection with embarrasement being the only other option if someone asked you to play it for them. "What, you don't have Moanin".

Members reviews

Art Blakey's Moanin' is a standard hard bop affair elevated by some fine soloing from Blakey's bandmates. Lee Morgan and Benny Golson are the stars of the show here, with their trumpet and saxophone playing a real highlight of the album, particularly on the opening track Moanin', which truth be told is the album's high point, though Golson's compositional contributions are also worth a mention. Although billed as an Art Blakey-led affair, this is really a group effort by the Jazz Messengers as a whole, and a credible addition to the canon of 1950s hard bop classics. I don't think it quite hits the heights of the best work of Miles Davis or John Coltrane, but it's in the same ballpark.

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