Art Blakey (featuring Keith Jarrett): My Romance
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Buttercorn Lady (Emarcy 822 471-2)
Frank Mitchell (alto sax), Reggie Johnson (bass).
Composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.
Recorded: The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, CA, January, 1966
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
On this hard-to-find live recording from the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, Art Blakey features the two young talents who had just joined his band: 20-year-old pianist Keith Jarrett and 25-year-old trumpeter Chuck Mangione. Neither would stay for long, and both would soon be selling more records than Blakey himself. But their stint with the Jazz Messengers left behind this outstanding LP, which is definitely worth a listen. Mangione takes leadoff solo on this standard, and contributes what would be a standout improvisation . . . if Keith Jarrett weren't taking the next chorus. Jarrett dishes out a perfect solo, with tasty ideas, angelic phrases and a very sweet touch. Jarrett wouldn't go anywhere near a Richard Rodgers standard for almost another two decades, but the newcomer showed here that he could play the old songs with great passion. On the basis of this tantalizing performance, one must conclude that the shortest-lasting group of Jazz Messengers -- it never made another record -- was also one of the finest.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia