Art_blakey-orgy_in_rhythm_span3
October 1997

Art Blakey
Orgy In Rhythm
Blue Note Records

For CD reissue Blue Note paired both volumes of this now-legendary, and aptly titled drum session. These succeeded largely because of the generational and cultural aspects of the drummers, and the spiritual qualities they brought to the recording session. The three generations of trap drummers include Papa Jo Jones, Buhaina, Specs Wright, and Art Taylor. Cultural diversity was delivered by the hand drummers Blakey's compadre Sabu Martinez recruited, including Carlos Patato Valdez, Jose Valiente, Evilio Quintero and timbalist Ubaldo Nieto. They are joined by bassist Wendell Marshall, flutist Herbie Mann and pianist Ray Bryant, who are largely confined to coloration roles.

There were no scores, though Blakey had a blueprint of what he wanted. The eight tracks are devoid of arrangements, though there is a sense of cohesion and no sense of flying blindly. What resulted was a spiritual encounter between Africa, the Caribbean diaspora, and Harlem-an exercise in advanced communication that is precursor to recorded percussion ensembles. The imagery is clear and tangible, a la the freest piece, appropriately titled "Amuck," which engages furiously sticked bongos recalling a rampaging herd of small animals. The flute-bass-piano intro of "Elephant Walk" reminds of Yusef Lateef's Eastern explorations, leavened with Sabu's wordless vocal. There is even a modified calypso, with a Mighty Sparrow-style line from Sabu's vocal.

Originally published in October 1997
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