The Art Blakey Centennial Celebration

The Art Blakey Centennial Celebration

The Art Blakey Centennial Celebration

Anyone who even vaguely follows and/or garnered appreciation for “Hard-Bop,” the soulful jazz sub-genre that in the mid-1950s followed on the heels of bebop, fully understands the historical significance of drummer Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. Blakey led the Jazz Messengers for 35 years, from 1955 to 1990, the year he died. The number of significant bandleaders-to-be that entered “The University of Blakey” in their late teens/early 20s and graduated anywhere from two to five years later, numbers in the dozens upon dozens. The Jazz Messengers roster spawned a litany of seminal players, among them: Terence Blanchard, Donald Byrd, Walter Davis Jr., Kenny Dorham, Curtis Fuller, Benny Golson, Benny Green, Johnny Griffin, Donald Harrison, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Mulgrew Miller, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Woody Shaw, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons,, Cedar Walton, Peter Washington, James Williams and Reggie Workman, to name but a few.
  Blakey, who encouraged band members to contribute material to his ensembles, naming many members “Musical Directors,” would have turned 100 on October 11, which makes 2019/2020 his Centennial. Among those participating in the celebration is a multi-generational aggregation of former Jazz Messengers, each who, not surprisingly, has gone on to become major figures within the present-day jazz arena. The Art Blakey Centennial Celebration includes a co-op comprised of enormously talented musicians - former Jazz Messengers all; dates "of service" noted parenthetically) including: alto saxophonist Bobby Watson (1977-1981), pianist Donald Brown (1983-1985; 1986-1987), bassist Essiet Okon Essiet (1989-1990) plus additional musicians to be announced soon. "Filling in" for Blakey (of course, there's only ONE Art Blakey) is the extremely capabile veteran drummer Carl Allen.

Audio and Video

Thursday, Mar 19, 2020

"Jazz in the District"

Missouri Theatre

Doors: 6 | Start: 7
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The Art Blakey Centennial Celebration

Bobby Watson: Alto Saxophone
David Schnitter: Tenor Saxophone
Donald Brown: Piano
Essiet Essiet: Bass
Carl Allen: Drums
Giveton Gelin: Trumpet

"If you feel like tapping your feet, tap your feet. If you feel like clapping your hands, clap your hands. And if you feel like taking off your shoes, take off your shoes. We are here to have a ball. So we want you to leave your worldly troubles outside and come in here and swing."           

- Art Blakey At the Jazz Corner of the World, Blue Note, 1959.


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