Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
The Jazz Messengers were a jazz combo that existed for over thirty-five years beginning in the early 1950s as a collective, and ending when long-time leader and founding drummer Art Blakey died in 1990.
Blakey led or co-led the group from the outset. "Art Blakey" and "Jazz Messengers" became synonymous over the years, though Blakey did lead non-Messenger recording sessions and played as a sideman for other groups throughout his career.
"Yes sir, I'm gonna to stay with the youngsters. When these get too old, I'm gonna get some younger ones. Keeps the mind active." — Art Blakey, A Night at Birdland, Vol. 2
The group evolved into a proving ground for young jazz talent. While veterans occasionally re-appeared in the group, by and large, each iteration of the Messengers included a lineup of new young players. Having the Messengers on one's resume was a rite of passage in the jazz world, and conveyed immediate bona fides.
Many former members of the Jazz Messengers established careers as solo musicians, such as Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Timmons, Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton, Keith Jarrett, Joanne Brackeen, Woody Shaw, Chuck Mangione, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison and Mulgrew Miller.
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