Art Blakey

Originator of the Be-Bob Drumming Style and Leader of the Jazz Messengers

Art Blakey -Born in Pittsburgh, Art Blakey along with Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, was one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming. He is known as a powerful musician and a vital groover; his brand of bluesy, funky hard bop was (and remains) profoundly influential on mainstream jazz. For more than 30 years his band the Jazz Messengers included many young musicians who went on to become prominent names in jazz. The band's legacy is thus not only known for the often exceptionally fine music it produced, but as a proving ground for several generations of jazz musicians.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1919 Art Blakey was the foster son of a devout Seventh-day Adventist family.  He learned piano at an early age and was accomplished by seventh grade.  He began his jazz career in Pittsburgh as a teen.  He was switched at gun point from piano to drums at gunpoint by the owner of of the Democratic Club to clear the piano for the young Pittsburgh pianist Erroll Garner.   In 1937 Blakey formed a band with pianist Mary Lou Williams.  He joined the Fletcher Henderson band in 1939 touring for 3 years.  Billy Eckstine hired him for his band in 1942 where his working with fellow band mates f Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughn.  In 1954 Horace Silver and Art Blakey founded the Jazz Messengers.

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