Full performer name: Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers.
The Rudy Van Gelder Edition of MOANIN' includes an essay by Bob Blumenthal.
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Art Blakey (drums); Benny Golson (tenor saxophone); Lee Morgan (trumpet); Bobby Timmons (piano); Jymie Merritt (bass).
Producer: Alfred Lion.
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on October 30, 1958. Originally released on Blue Note (4003). Includes liner notes by Leonard Feather and Bob Blumenthal.
Digitally remastered using 24-bit technology by Rudy Van Gelder (Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey).
This is part of the Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder Editions series.
If you simply can only have one Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers disc (and why would you stop there?), it absolutely must be MOANIN'. This 1958 Blue Note date is the cream of the early Messengers' studio sessions. The group of this period featured the wailing Lee Morgan (trumpet), the swinging Benny Golson (sax) and the soulful Bobby Timmons (piano) with longtime bassist Jymie Merritt by Blakey's side. All of the pieces fell into place here to create one of the most hard-swinging, blues-inflected records in jazz history.
Timmons' classic title cut sets the pace as it's laid-back call-and-response chorus and swinging bridge will get in your soul and start your head bobbing. Golson's bouncing "Are You Real" and the subtle "Along Came Betty" feature that golden Messengers ensemble sound that can't be matched as Blakey drives his men mercilessly. The most dynamic tracks, of course, are the drum feature "The Drum Thunder Suite," a Blakey tour-de-force, and the powerful "Blues March" featuring Art's signature shuffle groove. A delightful reading of the standard "Come Rain Or Come Shine" caps it all off. This is the one to get first.