Hard Bop Academy: The Sidemen of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
by Alan Goldsher. Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers was one of the most enduring, popular, reliable and vital small bands in modern jazz history. Blakey was not only a distinguished, inventive and powerful drummer, but along with Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, he was one of jazz’s foremost talent scouts. The musicians who flowed seamlessly in and out of this constantly evolving collective during its 36-year run were among the most important artists not just of their eras, but of any era.
Though their respective innovations were vital to the evolution of bebop, hard bop and neo bop, the recorded work of the Messengers sidemen has never been properly analyzed. Until now. Hard Bop Academy: The Sidemen of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers critically examines the multitude of gifted artists who populated the many editions of the Jazz Messengers. In addition to dissecting the sidemen’s most consequential work with Blakey’s band, jazz musician and acclaimed novelist Alan Goldsher offers up engaging profiles of everyone from Wynton Marsalis to Terence Blanchard to Hank Mobley to Wayne Shorter to Horace Silver to Keith Jarrett to Curtis Fuller to Steve Davis.
And that’s only the beginning. Goldsher conducted over 30 interviews with surviving graduates of Blakey’s Hard Bop Academy, many of whom spoke at length of their tenure with the legendary “Buhaina” for the first time. Alan Goldsher is a bassist who has recorded with Janet Jackson, Digable Planets, Cypress Hill and Naughty By Nature. His writing has been published in Bass Player, Tower Pulse, Sport and BasketBull: Chicago Bulls Magazine. Goldsher’s debut novel, Jam, was published in 2002 by Permanent Press. He lives in Chicago. Hardcover.
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