Hard Bops Signature Tune? Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers‘ ‘Moanin

Hard Bops Signature Tune? Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers‘ ‘Moanin

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers produced the classic Moanin' at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Hackensack, New Jersey on October 30, 1958.

“You have to take four,” says Rudy Van Gelder, before the orchestra begins playing pianist Bobby Timmons and one of jazz's most familiar themes. As an opening track, it's as perfect as "Moanin'" and has been called one of hard bop's most iconic songs. The track was so popular that almost everyone on the Blakey and the Messengers album referred to it as "Moanin'" and the name stuck. The track was also released as a single in February 1959 on two nine-minute 45s. Billboard said, "Beautiful performance by Blackie and the Messengers. It's a smart track that includes some great solos from Blackie's percussion album. Even pop jockeys can find those twisted sides.

Now listen to Moanin .

"Moanin'" would never have worked if Benny Golson had resisted the 22-year-old Timmons to complete the little eight-bar pattern that Timmons often plays between songs at the band's gigs. Turning funk into jazz and a compelling composition, this single will make an album memorable yet stand out from start to finish. Golson took over writing the rest of the songs, but the album was closer in quality to Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen.

Having started recording with Blakey's band two years earlier, Lee Morgan was only 20 years old when he recorded this album; it's hard to believe when you hear the sophistication of his playing and his nearly decade long relationship with Golson. "I go really hard," Morgan Van Gelder warned before the recording of "Moanin' Take 4" and he does, but nothing can dampen his trumpet spirit. A star is born.

The second side of " Moanin " opens with Blakey's suite, a "schizophrenic symphonic master" that includes everything from bebop to bossa nova . And by the time the album wraps up with "Come Rain or Come Shine" – Timmons proves he can play the keyboard – you're completely engrossed in the sound of jazz messengers. In 1959, it was about everyone: it was the album that made them one of the first jazz groups.

Art Blakey and The Messenger ' Moanin' can be purchased here.

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Art Blakey and the Messengers of Jazz – Bouncing Back with Bud (1959).

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