(Photo by Francis Wolff, Blue Note Records)
My post of 8 January included a clip of ‘A Night In Tunisia’ by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. It was filmed at the Theater des Champs Elysees on 15 November 1959. The lineup was one of Blakey’s best: Wayne Shorter (ts), Lee Morgan (tpt), Walter Davis Jnr (p) and Jymie Merritt (b). Here is the whole 51 minute concert film, courtesy of Google video. Tunes: ‘Blues March’ / ‘Are You Real?’ / ‘A Night In Tunisia’ / ‘Close Your Eyes’ / ‘Goldie’
This incarnation of the Messengers made numerous recordings. My favourite is a raucous motherfucker recorded on 18 December 1959, again at the Theater des Champs Elysees. It is known as Paris Jam Session, and features Bud Powell on two of his own tunes.
Bobby Timmons replaced Walter Davis Jnr for a string of classic quintet LPs: The Big Beat (March ’60), Like Someone in Love and A Night In Tunisia (August ’60), Meet You At The Jazz Corner Of the World 1 & 2 (September 1960), Pisces (February ’61), The Witch Doctor (March ’61), The Freedom Rider (May ’61), and Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers (June ’61).
In late 1961 Blakey expanded the band to a sextet (Curtis Fuller on trombone) with Freddie Hubbard replacing Lee Morgan and Cedar Walton filling the piano chair. This version of the band recorded my favourite Blakey record, Free For All. But more on that at a later date.
Link: A comprehensive Messengers discography