Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - The Big Beat
Blue Note Records has announced the continuation of the Classic Vinyl Reissue Series which presents 180g vinyl LP reissues in standard packaging mastered by Kevin Gray and manufactured at Optimal. The pressings are all-analog whenever an analog source is available, with Gray mastering directly from the original master tapes. While the first 16 titles of the series focused on the best-known Blue Note classics from the 1950s and 60s, the new run of titles curated by Don Was and Cem Kurosman broadens its scope to span the many eras and styles of the legendary label's eight-decade history presented by themes: Bebop, Hard Bop, Soul Jazz, Post-Bop, Avant-Garde, The 70s, The Rebirth, and Hidden Gems.
The timeless 1960 hard bop classic The Big Beat was the album that first introduced one of the greatest line-ups of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers to the jazz public with the legendary drummer and bandleader joined by trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Bobby Timmons, and bassist Jymie Merritt. Shorter was the band's newest member, and it was immediately clear that his presence would steer the group's sound in a new more modern direction. Three of the album's six pieces were penned by Shorter including the swaggering set opener "The Chess Players," the imaginative "Sakeena's Vision" written for Blakey's young daughter, and the tribute "Lester Left Town" which was dedicated to influential jazz tenor forefather Lester Young.
However, it was Timmons' unforgettable gospel-influenced tune "Dat Dere," a suitably soulful follow-up to the band's previous hit "Moanin'," that the album would ultimately become best-known for. This excellent edition of The Jazz Messengers would go on to record a phenomenal run of classic albums including A Night In Tunisia, Like Someone In Love, The Freedom Rider, Roots & Herbs, and The Witch Doctor.