From the Vault: Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Caravan (1962)

By Bryce

Art Blakey’s first on Riverside features the inimitable Freddie Hubbard on trumpet; Wayne Shorter,  tenor sax; Cedar Walton, piano; Curtis Fuller, trombone; Reggie Workman, bassist. These form the Jazz Messengers in late 1962, whose lineup was constantly revolving save for Blakey who led as percussionist, bandleader, and spiritual center for decades. Though his contribution is relatively subdued on this album, his effortless syncopation is undeniably the backbone of the group.

The title track, written by Juan Tizol and first performed by Duke Ellington, is a standout on the album. The soloists wade in and out, responding to each other along with an ever-intensifying rhythm section. Blakey’s solo beats down like the desert sun, cymbals chiming with the breeze. The rest of the album restates and expands on tones and themes first presented, a true bop classic. Check out the link to “Caravan” below!!