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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for girls, 28 Mar. 2005
By 
Ian Thumwood "ian17577" (Winchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Free For All (Audio CD)
Throughout the 1950's and 60's, Blue Note issued hundreds of records that came to define what became known as "Hard Bop." Unlike other labels, they paid the musicians for their rehersal time and the tightness of the bands reflects this. I suspect that this contributes alot to the on-going popularity of records that are now over forty years old.
On this CD, Art Blakey leads his firey Jazz Messengers through four extended tracks on a testosterone-fuelled session that, for many , defines what "Hard Bop" was all about. There is little room for subtlety in this set and the opening title track sets the tone. This is undoubtedly the finest Messeneger's line-up with Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and Curtis Fuller completing the front line. (Shorter is particularly good - this being just a few months before he joined Miles Davis.) Pianist Cedar Walton and bassist Reggie Workman are up for it too, but it is Blakey who dominates everything. His playing is evidence that , if you couldn't hold your own on the bandstand, he would wipe you out. Sometimes, it sounds like there are two drummers. Only the closing "Pensativa" offers a contrast to the bombastic onslaught.
From the first note, it is evident that this album is a killer and would certainly appear to warrant it's reputation as Blakey's finest. The title track fuese elements of free-ish playing but this does not detract from Balkey's ferocious groove. If anything, it only serves to make the music more indendiary. Whilst I would concede that there is room for all types of jazz at all decibel levels, the Blakey manifesto of no band being better that it's drummer, is surely demonstrated by this album. This CD makes Horace Silver sound as delicate as the MJQ !! Excellent recording too. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers on fire in 1964., 17 Nov. 2012
By 
Jazzrook - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Free For All (Audio CD)
Art Blakey(1919-1990) was firing on all cylinders for this exceptional sextet session recorded in New Jersey on February 10, 1964 with Wayne Shorter(tenor sax), Freddie Hubbard(trumpet), Curtis Fuller(trombone), Cedar Walton(piano) & Blakey leading on drums.
The four lengthy Coltrane-influenced tracks include two Wayne Shorter compositions, one from Freddie Hubbard and a standard from Clare Fischer.
This excellent RVG Edition(2004) is one of the finest albums by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and a good representation of their brand of intense and exciting hard bop.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hard bop at its driving best., 23 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Free For All (Audio CD)
This album from 1964 is without doubt hard bop, infact a bit too hard for my liking. However I can admire the music, its intensity and skill. Blakey drives this sextet from the rear. The front line is Wayne Shorter (tenor; who'd been with Blakey for at least three years), Freddie Hubbard (tpt) and Curtis Fuller (tmb). The pianist is Cedar Walton and bassman is Reggie Workman, who will soon move on to work with Coltrane. So there is no doubts as to the professional quality of this group.
Just four tracks, circa 8-10 minutes, this a short yet intense album, the only track at a slower tempo being the last "Pensativa".
For lovers of fiery music played full- on this is the album for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magic!, 2 Oct. 2013
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I will keep this simple for those of us who are searching the world of jazz for truly breathtaking performances.
This is just that! Look no further (well at least until you have enjoyed it a while first) :)x
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