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A Night At Birdland, Vol. 1 (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition) Original recording remastered, Extra tracks, Live


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A Night At Birdland, Vol. 1 (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition) + A Night At Birdland, Vol. 2 + At The Cafe Bohemia, Vol. 1
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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 Aug. 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Extra tracks, Live
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00005MIZ8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,280 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Announcement by Pee Wee Marquette (Live)0:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Split Kick (Live) 8:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Once In A While (Live) 5:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Quicksilver (Live) 6:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. A Night In Tunisia (Live) 9:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Mayreh (Live) 6:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Wee-Dot (Live) 6:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Blues (Live) 8:37£0.99  Buy MP3 

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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Ricard Giner (cootie@cootiesjazz.com) on 2 Sept. 2001
Format: Audio CD
From the very opening moments of these remarkable recordings, one is at once struck by the sense that a moment of historical importance is being witnessed all over again. Blue Note's Alfred Lion, in his unerring vision, decided to record Art Blakey's new band at Birdland in February 1954. He had rightly sensed that something new, something thrillingly new, was afoot. Though Charlie Parker was still a year from death, bop was demanding an invigorating lease of life to take it into a new dimension of expressiveness and vitality. The resulting transformation of the now hackneyed music into something raw, urgent and fizzing with energy was to be popularly called "hard bop", and was thrust into public consciousness on this record, and its sister volume (Birdland, Vol. 2 - which should be purchased with Vol. 1).
The set opens with a presentation by Birdland's MC, the quirky, shrill-voiced Pee Wee Marquette. The sheer confidence of the ensemble emerges instantly: Art Blakey had assembled the hottest combo of the moment. Even Miles Davis, who had attended a rehearsal shortly before the recording, had sarcastically expressed a desire for Clifford Brown to "break his chops". He was clearly awestruck by Brownie's now legendary round, fat tone, and a seemingly limitless capacity to conjure up melodies and counter-melodies, weaving in perfectly-executed arpeggios to accentuate the harmonic changes. His solo on "Quicksilver" is brimming with all of these qualities - no wonder Miles was intimidated.
Lou Donaldson's first solo on "Split-Kick" is right out of the Charlie Parker-inspired tradition. But it emerges throughout the records that Donaldson's attack, tone and phraseology is confidently his own.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nikica Gilic on 1 July 2009
Format: Audio CD
The Art Blakey quintet of this recording (NOT The Jazz Messengers as "amazon" often states - THAT group was not yet born) gives heated performances with plenty of drive (why shouldn't it - with Bakey at the driving wheel)...

But it is Clifford Brown I'll mostly come back to this CD for - his solos are exceptional, showing his range with no flashy showing-off, sparkling with lyricism and beauty rarely surpased by any jazz trumpeter I've heard so far. And the trumpet IS my favorite instrumment in jazz.

Well, since you've already heard this is the essential (and influential) hard bop recording, with the pianist/composer Horace Silver, alto-player Lou Donaldson and Curley Russell on bass, I can just join the general opinion on the quality and importance of this date recorded by Blue Note.
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By GlynLuke TOP 100 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It must have been quite a night at Birdland in February 1954, from which these two volumes were recorded (Vol 2 available in a similar cover; red backgrounds instead of blue).
A big draw is - and must then have been too - the generous, ecstatic trumpet of the late Clifford Brown (1930-56) whose playing here is as good as anywhere else in his all too brief career. Listen to his marvellous soloing on the gorgeous ballad Once In A While.
It`s an intriguing line-up, with Horace Silver luxury casting on piano, and Lou Donaldson making a reedily pleasing sound on alto sax. Blakey drives it all along with his customary pulverising panache, with Curly Russell keeping up the pulse on bass.
After a short announcement by the tiny, helium-voiced Pee Wee Marquette, Birdland`s MC, matters come to an immediate head with the blistering Split Kick, one of three Silver compositions, then it`s into the above-mentioned ballad as customers and listeners dry off and get their breath back.
When I first played these two discs I found them a little `crowded`, couldn`t hear the wood for the trees, so to speak, but listening further there are all sorts of delights to be had, with bags of live atmosphere adding to the date`s relentless feel.
There`s a sweaty nine-minute A Night In Tunisia as well, Brown playing his heart out on the joyous climax.
With an alternate take of Wee-Dot (a track on Vol 2) and a final improvised number simply and truthfully called Blues, on which Donaldson takes the first exploratory clear-headed solo, followed by a blissed-out Brownie, this is the Art Blakey Quintet (they were yet to be dubbed the Jazz Messengers) in coruscating form. Besides, any chance to hear the great Brownie blowing hard and hearty is not to be missed.
A very lively live one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
The Best of Brown and Blakey 4 May 2002
By Robert Bezimienny - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Five stars! And Volume 2 is even better! This is one of the best places to hear Clifford Brown, live and in extended format - better in fact than in the Blue Note albums under his name (he also appears in Volume 1 of J.J.Johnson's recent remaster). All these musicians are on fire, but some of Brownie's solos are just unbelievable. Be-Bop, Hard-Bop, call it whatever you like, this is some of the most exciting music you're ever likely to hear.
*
The remastering is fantastic. The difference between this and the original transfer is staggering - if you own the old and you're hesitating to buy the new, then don't hesitate any longer: it's almost as if you've never heard the music before, there is that much added detail and presence. Yes, it's a live mono recording from February 21st, 1954, but the sound is more vivid that most contemporary recordings (say, Joshua Redman's Village Vanguard set).
*
Of Art Blakey's numerous other recordings, I'd also recommend 'Mosaic', 'Free for All', and 'The African Beat', although many others contend. But make sure you listen to Volume 2 of this set - the opening version of 'Wee-dot' is one of my favourite jazz perfomances of all time. How could Clifford Brown die so young?? An enormous tragedy.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
One of the hottest of the Blakey bands 25 Aug. 2001
By Ricard Giner (cootie@cootiesjazz.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
From the very opening moments of these remarkable recordings, one is at once struck by the sense that a moment of historical importance is being witnessed all over again. Blue Note's Alfred Lion, in his unerring vision, decided to record Art Blakey's new band at Birdland in February 1954. He had rightly sensed that something new, something thrillingly new, was afoot. Though Charlie Parker was still a year from death, bop was demanding an invigorating lease of life to take it into a new dimension of expressiveness and vitality. The resulting transformation of the now hackneyed music into something raw, urgent and fizzing with energy was to be popularly called "hard bop", and was thrust into public consciousness on this record, and its sister volume (Birdland, Vol. 2 - which should be purchased with Vol. 1). The set opens with a presentation by Birdland's MC, the quirky, shrill-voiced Pee Wee Marquette. The sheer confidence of the ensemble emerges instantly: Art Blakey had assembled the hottest combo of the moment. Even Miles Davis, who had attended a rehearsal shortly before the recording, had sarcastically expressed a desire for Clifford Brown to "break his chops". He was clearly awestruck by Brownie's now legendary round, fat tone, and a seemingly limitless capacity to conjure up melodies and counter-melodies, weaving in perfectly-executed arpeggios to accentuate the harmonic changes. His solo on "Quicksilver" is brimming with all of these qualities - no wonder Miles was intimidated. Lou Donaldson's first solo on "Split-Kick" is right out of the Charlie Parker-inspired tradition. But it emerges throughout the records that Donaldson's attack, tone and phraseology is confidently his own. Art Blakey, who was older than his sidemen by a decade, had with his avuncular authority nurtured the chemistry that would make his fledgling Jazz Messengers the most fecund school of music for the next 30 years of jazz history. Bebop classics such as "Now's the Time", "Confirmation" and "A Night in Tunisia" reveal the influence of the tradition (then barely a decade old) and its central place in the repertoire of even a cutting-edge band. But more revealing still is the presence of new numbers composed by Horace Silver ("Split Kick", "Quicksilver", "Mayreh") and Lou Donaldson ("Lou's Blues"). The band was giving well-known material an electrifying, vigorous treatment, illustrated clearly by Donaldson's blistering break before his solo on "A Night in Tunisia", and at the same time developing a body of original work to cement the compositional and performing talent of its young members. From an historical perspective, this recording and Vol. 2 are the decisive springboard from which Clifford Brown was to become the most talented and popular trumpeter of his generation. A mere month later Max Roach called him to form what was to become the most sought-after small jazz group of the 1950s, and one of the most admired in history. From this band also, Horace Silver grew to become a leading voice of the hard bop movement and a Blue Note icon. Blakey himself went on to give opportunities to young musicians such as Kenny Dorham, Donald Byrd, Doug Watkins, Hank Mobley, Bill Hardman, Johnny Griffin, Jackie McLean, Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Bobby Timmons, Wayne Shorter... Perhaps no other jazz musician's generosity and insight has given wings to so many great players. Listen to these records and wonder what might have happened to American music if Art Blakey hadn't been born.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Brownie at his best. 31 Jan. 2001
By Caponsacchi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
With no intended slights to Louis, Diz, Miles, Wynton and all the others, for many trumpeters and other musicians Clifford Brown was the Bird of the trumpet--all the more fitting that his finest hour should be this session captured live at Birdland. Clifford had that timbre, akin to Pops and Bird at their best, that made the horn sound like two instruments playing in unison. There was no holding back, no merely "cool" or "playful" licks, no "hip" cliches. It was all about risk, passion, soaring lyricism--especially with Art Blakey on hand. Volume One strikes me as the better of the two albums--certainly the more dramatic (Pee Wee Marquette's announcement of the musicians along with Blakey's introduction of "A Night in Tunisia" must be included among the highlights ). The only weakness of the album would have to be Lou Donaldson's playing which, though competent, is no match for the level of musicianship of his colleague. The 4-bar solo break at the end of the first chorus of "Night in Tunisia," the one made famous by Charlie Parker's never-equaled statement on the 1947 Carnegie Hall concert, is given to Donaldson (who flounders, flubs, merely fills space) rather than Clifford. Too bad, because I have a hunch Brownie could have held his own even in direct comparison with Bird.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
LIVE JAZZ COOKIN' 1954 - bop history. 30 Aug. 2003
By "douglasnegley" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As named in the profile section, this is in my personal top 5. The reasons are twofold: it is LIVE, and Brownie is there. There is something about LIVE, when it is right - like Duke in '56 at Newport, Diz in '57, Joao at Montreaux in '85 - that calls history into sharp focus. This does that, as does Volume 2. Sure, there is a 'clam' or two, like Donaldson on the harmony coming back in on "Split Kick", but it makes it human, and more fun. The tempos are smokin' without being pushed too fast (Blakey makes sure of it) and the give-and-take between the players, as well as the conversing by MC Pee Wee Marquette, and Blakey's intro to "Night In Tunisia" give the feel of the event. Horace Silver and Lou Donaldson are perfect with Brownie, and Blakey plays loose and fast on this gig. Curly Russell rounds out the quintet. If you like your bop hard AND soulful, you will definately dig this.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
On this night, hard bop was born... 6 Nov. 2007
By trumpet mercenary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
People tend to focus so much on Clifford Brown's dynamic partnership with Max Roach that they forget that it all started in the very first edition of ART BLAKEY'S JAZZ MESSENGERS. I, admittedly, am one of these people, and didn't discover this recording until many years after indulging in those aforementioned gold Mercury recordings with Roach. What was I THINKING??

"A Night at Birdland" captures some of the most crackling, sharp, burning, emotional, and hard-driving jazz ever recorded. Many consider this to be the first "hard bop" recording ever released - "hard bop" being a buzzword for jazz that blends gospel, R&B, blues, and an extra emphasis on blowing. Considering that Art Blakey's groups are seen as the archetypal hard bop groups, it's only fitting that jazz's best trumpet player kick-starts his own career, a genre, Art Blakey's messengers, and Horace Silver's future groups all in one night.

Listen to Brownie, Brownie, Brownie. Oh my God. My trumpet professor considers Clifford's opening solo on "Split Kick" to be one of top 5 jazz solos ever. This Horace Silver tune, written over the changes to "There Will Never Be Another You," gives Clifford a vehicle to just UNLEASH HIMSELF! Not resting on his laurels, he gets right up to play a ballad and will have you smiling ear to ear with his tender and delicate interpretation of "Once in a While." All night Clifford had his A game flowing thru the trumpet.

Horace Silver is one of jazz's (and definitely hard bop's) best composers, and this night was his big break for his compositions. The aforementioned Split Kick gets its first famous reading, as well as his blistering "Quicksilver," written over the changes to "Lover Come Back to Me," and "Mayreh," written over the changes to "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm." They're very catchy and challenging.

This IS the first, and could be considered definitive, hard bop recording. The blues are there - there's a 8:38 improvisation over slow Bb blues. Gospel? There are touches of it in the blues tune. R&B? Listen to the soulful playing of alto wizard Lou Donaldson. The hard blowing? Every second of every song...

Unfortunately, hard bop was just getting started, so the bebop standard of "head solo solo solo solo head" was still as popular as it was. This can get a little monotonous for those who fell in love with hard bop's penchant for slick arrangements, backgrounds, and harmonies.

Nat Hentoff complained of Clifford's playing on this record of "having too many notes." While this is a surprisingly inaccurate claim from the normally reliable Hentoff, he does have a point: the musicians are very excited and driving, and it can get heady if you aren't used to listening to live hard bop.

The songs all have the same introduction and it gets kind of boring/obnoxious - 8 or 16 bar thunderous drum intros by Art Blakey. While he's a hell of a drummer, this is probably the reason he was almost deaf by his death at age 71.

These musicians made history on this night. They didn't know they did - but they sure as nails did. When you listen to this music, think about not only how historically significant it is, but how natural it was for these musicians to just blow and do their thing.

What's the opposite of a point of no return? A launchpad? This recording was the launchpad of 4 of the 5 musicians involved. Clifford moved out west to start his dynamic partnership with Max Roach, Horace Silver and Art Blakey would team up to start the JAZZ MESSENGERS, and Lou Donaldson would hang around Blue Note Records and continue to recruit and blow his butt off. Curly Russell....well, he already had his fun blazing bebop with Bird in the 40's.

Horace Silver has a very interesting playing style on this record. His left hand comping involves a lot of low register notes and busy, driving figures. Silver fans will want to hear how his playing evolved from this to a more funky style in later years.
Trumpet players - have fun with that solo on Split Kick. I know I did.

My favorite track, if you haven't figured it out by this point, it's Split Kick. This song brings out the most energy out of the band and the most inspired musical creativity.

Blakey said that this was the 1st time he enjoyed a recording session - yet, you'll enjoy it by a much larger magnitude than he did. Just have a pillow around - you'll keep falling off of your chair in amazement.
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