Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers have been likened to an on-the-road university more times than I can count (up to 20, if I take off my socks). But the truth is the truth, and ol’ Buhaina would simultaneously beat his drums and expertly teach the multitudes of talented musicians who passed through his classroom during the 36 years he led the Messengers. In his new book, Hard Bop Academy: The Sidemen of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (Hal Leonard), Alan Goldsher profiles 39 artists who passed the drummer’s master classes.
Goldsher talked to 24 former Jazz Messengers for Hard Bop Academy, from Benny Golson to Wynton Marsalis, and the book features no less than four introductions, from Branford Marsalis, Bobby Watson, Javon Jackson and Terence Blanchard. The book is filled with cool tales from on and off the bandstand, but Hard Bop Academy‘s focus is definitely on the music and how Blakey ran the Jazz Messengers (with one foot up each musician’s fanny, so it seems, and they were made all the better for it, so it seems).