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Art Blakey: Praise the Messenger

To honor the drummer's centennial, more than three dozen musicians who worked with the peerless bandleader share their memories of Bu

Art Blakey
Left to right: Art Blakey, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, and Gigi Gryce at Birdland, February 1954 (photo: Francis Wolff/Mosaic Images LLC)


Randy Brecker (trumpet, 1969): Art led from the drums. He wasn’t very verbal about what he did. … It was just like being run over by a steamroller. What a thrill.

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Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.