Who was the man behind the drum kit? What went through the mind of the cat on the fat end of the drumsticks who told us Jazz is supposed to wash away the dust of everyday life? As Art Blakey used to say, “To pass through life and miss this music is to miss out on one of the best things about living.” His rhythmic jazz grooves were magnetic, they brought people together, they became a rallying cry.
Blakey, through his band, the Jazz Messengers, worked with and influenced some of the most celebrated artists of our time. A list of the band's alumni is a who's who of jazz from the '50s and beyond. The Messengers included:
In turn, the Messengers influenced some of the most celebrated of our time; Billy Pierce collaborated and played with Stevie Wonder, Donald Harrison offered musical instruction to a young Biggie Smalls before he became the Notorious B.I.G. and Terrence Blanchard has scored dozens of Spike Lee films.
To learn more about Art Blakey and the Messengers visit the Estate of Art Blakey website to get you started. In addition, check out some of the various resources listed to below.