The band led by drummer Art Blakey (center) groomed more than 150 alumni members, including saxophonist Wayne Shorter and trumpeter Lee Morgan.
Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images
October 11, 2012 From the mid-'50s to 1990, the drummer's band served as a finishing school for elite jazz musicians. Here are five of the distinguished alumni of Blakey's university of the streets, including Horace Silver, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter.
Gary Bartz performs at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival. The saxophonist is often cited as a messenger of black empowerment in music.
June 19, 2012 For the annual celebration of Juneteenth, today's jazz luminaries — musicians such as Jason Moran, Christian McBride, Orrin Evans, Jeremy Pelt and Bobby Watson — reflect on recordings about the ongoing process of African-American emancipation.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sees off a group of Freedom Riders as they board a bus for Jackson, Miss., on May 24, 1961.
May 4, 2011 The dream of social justice resulted in one of the most creative periods in jazz history. Hear some of the musicians who wielded their instruments in the pursuit of social harmony and change.
With many young talents under his tutelage, Art Blakey has often been called the father of hard bop.
January 25, 2010 Evolving out of 1950s bebop, hard bop incorporates elements of gospel, soul and R&B. One of the style's biggest supporters, Blue Note Records, celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. And while jazz has progressed since then, hard bop is still heard in many modern jazz recordings. Hear five classics.
December 30, 2009 Studio recordings from 1959 make a strong case for that year as one of the best ever for jazz. Now, a large set of 50-year-old live recordings from the Newport Jazz Festival have been released online. WBGO's Josh Jackson and The New York Times' Ben Ratliff select some choice highlights.
December 11, 2009 With many hundreds of new recordings each year, jazz maintains a lot of biodiversity in its tiny ecosystem. Chances are, it's got something for everyone, but finding the right fit is like searching for an ant in the jungle; it's never an easy quest, but when it happens, you'll likely find an entire colony. Here are the 10 finest jazz records of 2009, as chosen by WBGO's Josh Jackson.
Art Blakey counts Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and Terence Blanchard among his Jazz Messengers alumni. And that's the short list.
October 13, 2009 Ninety years ago, one of the greatest bandleaders and drummers in jazz was born in Pittsburgh, Penn. That man was Art Blakey. For more than 30 years, he led The Jazz Messengers, a band which became a sort of graduate school and springboard for some of the greatest jazz players of all time.
August 3, 2009 When it comes to prolific artists like Art Blakey, it can be easy to overlook a classic. Blakey had so many studio recordings and live albums with The Jazz Messengers that it can be difficult to parse which are the the ones worth hearing. So somet...
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July 21, 2009 Jazz being the esoteric art that it is, many of its major artists were similarly obsessed with other forms of divining — numerology, tarot readings, enneagrams and especially astrology. Here are five jazz songs that might inspire you to ask your fellow jazz fan, "What's your sign?"
May 3, 2007 Saxophone player Benny Golson played with jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey, and wrote music for the TV shows M*A*S*H and Mission Impossible. He talks about his role in reshaping Blakey's band as well as the bit part in a Stephen Spielberg movie that helped revitalize his career.
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August 1, 2001 Art Blakey was one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time. He employed his powerful, rhythmic playing in the "hard bop" — or East Coast — style of jazz. His trademark was the forceful closing of the high-hat on every second and fourth beat. This album illustrates his unique style.
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