Keeping Alive the Sounds of Art Blakey

SKF NOTE: This is second time in as many days I’ve run across tributes to Art Blakey. The first is former Blakey sideman Javon Jackson’s “The Jazz Message: Celebrating Art Blakey.”

blakey_holiday_for_skinsThis morning I read about this “Art Blakey-inspired percussion ensemble, Another Holiday for Skins,” celebrating Blakey’s several percussion-centric albums. The reporter refers to these albums as “an early exploration of…’World Music.'” That’s true.

I drove a house full of people outside onto a deck one night when I put Blakey’s “Orgy in Rhythm” on the turntable. I’ve listened to these albums many times. Also, to Blakey’s “Drums Around the Corner” album where he teams up with Philly Joe Jones and Roy Haynes.

None of this is background music, casual listening music. It’s more like listening to a cauldron of boiling percussion instruments. In the liner notes to “Drum Suite,” Kenny Washington said Art Blakey once told him he wasn’t entirely happy with these albums. Blakey felt the drummers were too quick to hog the spotlight. He was hoping more for interplay like he had heard with African drummers.

blakey_orgy_in_rhythmI agree with Art Blakey. There are cluttered moments on these CD’s, but they are still very worth listening to. Especially for drummers.

Thank you for keeping alive the sounds of Art Blakey.


Afro-Brazilian Percussion in a Big Band Jazz Format! July 31st at TPAC

The opening act for the evening will be the Philly-based, Art Blakey-inspired percussion ensemble, Another Holiday for Skins with Robert Kenyatta, Doc Gibbs, Pablo Batista, Luke Carlos O’Reilly and others. Another Holiday For Skins performed in February at the International House to a sold-out crowd featuring an all-star ensemble of Philadelphia drummers, percussionists and other musicians. This event was a celebration of the classic 1958 Ark Blakey, album “Holiday For Skins” and its sister projects, “Drum Suite” and “Orgy In Rhythm.” Recorded by master drummer, Art Blakey, who was joined by Philly Joe Jones, Sabu Martinez, Ray Bryant and others, “Holiday For Skins” was an early exploration of what we now call “World Music.”

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