Originally Posted by Mike Stand
Just listening to those old Jazz Messengers albums sends chills up my spine, I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like to experience Blakey live!
Blakey opened the door to jazz for me. I remember exactly when and how. I heard a Jazz Messengers version of Only a Paper Moon and the very first beat began with Blakey striking his crash/ride on the edge and then continuing with the classic jazz ding-a-ding ride pattern. (Sorry, I'm not technically competent enough to explain this in proper music terms)
The recording (on a BlueNote best of collection) seemed too smooth for it to be live, but I never found a studio album that had this version on it. Strange? And I've got a ton of Blakey albums. Does anyone know which album this particular version might be on?
I'm slightly disappointed that this thread only has 40 something posts. But then again, it's not surprising. Blakey wasn't just a drummer but a band leader that provided the structure and basis for some of the most amazing music. Like I said about another drummer (Brian Blade), you just can't rationalise what he did. Words are not enough.
With Blakey, it's arguably all the more difficult to explain because his technique and style seems, dare I say, quite basic compared to the complexity and technique so many drummers show. And still, the swing and groove he created with only a few simple strokes was out of this world. I suppose you have to feel it to believe it.
People ask what came before the big bang, I reckon it was Art Blakey!
I saw Blakey live in either 1982 or 1983, I don't recall. Wynton was with him then. All I recall was my adrenaline going wild - same way when I sat about 8 feet from Buddy's bass drum all night. Both left a lifelong impression on me.
Free for All is a killer album.
The Big Beat is the studio album where you'll find It's "Only A Paper Moon".