Art Blakey: Anthenagin
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Michael Howell (guitar), Mickey Bass (bass), Tony Waters (conga).
Composed by Cedar Walton.
Recorded: Berkeley, CA, March 29, 1973
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
I have always really liked the little-noticed Messengers records on Fantasy/Prestige from the early '70s: Anthenagin, Buhaina, and Child’s Dance, now re-released on CD in a Vol. 1–Vol. 2 setup by OJC/Concord. There’s a sense of the cultural moment here with Cedar Walton’s Rhodes, the one-chord vamps on a number of tunes, and Tony Waters’s conga pumping it out in tandem with the redoubtable Buhaina. The highlight for me has been a number of great Woody Shaw solos throughout these dates, as well as the beginnings of the frontline partnership of Woody and tenor saxophonist Carter Jefferson, which bore fruit later in the '70s in Woody’s own group. “Anthenagin” has a great solo—one of Woody’s case studies in how to sustain interest on a limited harmonic base and reach multiple peaks in a solo statement. I feel Woody is getting into a new gear here in the development of his vocabulary; there’s a greater variety of melodic gestures (which you can really keep track of due to the harmonic stasis of the tune itself), and he can keep the line going longer.
Reviewer: Brian Lynch
Tags: 1970s jazz