Jazz Messengers

Jazz Messengers

Singling out albums by driving hard-bop exemplars Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers can be tough. But this 1961 date stands out as the first sextet version of the band, with Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Curtis Fuller on trombone, and Lee Morgan on trumpet. It’s also the last record pianist Bobby Timmons made with the group. It opens with the brisk Fuller blues of “À la mode” before tackling five standards, bringing brashness to “Circus” and agile soulfulness to “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You.”

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