8. “In Walked Bud” (Keystone 3; Concord Jazz, 1982)
Wynton and Branford Marsalis both became the darlings of the jazz world while working in the Jazz Messengers, and Blakey at last became hailed as a legendary elder statesman. The energy that those three—along with tenor saxophonist Bill Pierce, pianist Donald Brown, and bassist Charles Fambrough—bring to “In Walked Bud” on this San Francisco live date (which ranks alongside Moanin’ and Free for All among Blakey’s finest recordings) is ferocious. The swing will make your head spin; the technique, despite Branford’s overreliance on Bird licks, is top-flight. But don’t be fooled by the youth surrounding him. Blakey’s constant push on the drum kit makes it clear that he is the primary generator of this heat.