The indisputable fact that the tapes dated from 1963, proper in the center of the saxophonist’s most celebrated period, signaled that this was a serious discover. The identical applies to Just Coolin’, a never-before-released album from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers that’s due out in April from Blue Note: Its recording date of March 1959, simply a few months after the launch of the group’s hard-bop masterpiece Moanin’, tells us that this could possibly be one among the yr’s standout archival releases.
Not only a powerhouse drummer — identified for his driving beat and commanding snare rolls — the late Blakey was also called one among the high expertise scouts in jazz. From the mid-Fifties by the early Nineties, his Jazz Messengers featured everybody from Lee Morgan and Keith Jarrett to Wynton and Branford Marsalis. The spring of 1959 discovered Blakey in between two basic lineups, together with saxophonist-composers Benny Golson and Wayne Shorter, respectively. In between, the drummer recruited saxist Hank Mobley, a Blue Note mainstay who had performed in an earlier model of the Messengers.
At the time, the ’59 Messengers — with Blakey, Mobley, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Bobby Timmons on piano, and Jymie Merritt on bass — put out only one file: At the Jazz Corner of the World, a two-volume dwell album recorded that April at New York’s Birdland (to not be confused with Meet You at the Jazz Corner of the World, one other dwell Jazz Messengers launch recorded at Birdland in 1960). That album included three Mobley originals — “Hipsippy Blues,” “M & M,” and “Just Coolin’” — in addition to the Bernice Petkere customary “Close Your Eyes.” As it seems, the group had recorded all 4 of these items, plus Timmons’ “Quick Trick” and the uncredited tune “Jimerick,” the prior month at the first location of engineer Rudy Van Gelder’s famed studio, then situated in his mother and father’ lounge in Hackensack, New Jersey. But at the time, Blue Note producer/co-founder Alfred Lion selected to place out the Birdland classes and hold the studio date on the shelf.
At the Jazz Corner is a stellar file, an excellent instance of the Messengers’ signature sound: elegant, soulful, finger-snapping feel-good jazz. And Just Coolin’ under no circumstances replaces it. But any Jazz Messengers — particularly materials from this era, with this caliber of gamers on board, and expertly captured by Van Gelder, the engineer whose sound is synonymous with Blue Note — is price listening to, and Just Coolin’ is a good-looking addition to the catalog.
Timmons’ “Quick Trick,” which is out right this moment, is a captivating midtempo tune that finds the band squarely in its hard-swinging ingredient. Lee Morgan’s expressive solo, launched by one among Blakey’s trademark rolls, is a standout, and Mobley’s function exhibits how effectively he meshed with the drummer’s irresistible ride-cymbal groove.
Just Coolin’ is out on April 24th from Blue Note.