Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: D's Dilemma


D's Dilemma


Art Blakey (drums)


Drum Suite (Sony 480988)

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Art Blakey (drums), Bill Hardman (trumpet), Jackie McLean (alto sax), Sam Dockery (piano), Spanky DeBrest (bass).

Composed by Mal Waldron


Recorded: New York, December 13, 1956


Rating: 87/100 (learn more)

Though they lacked the strong compositional and stylistic influence of departed co-founder Horace Silver and stars like Lee Morgan and Bobby Timmons, the often overlooked second edition of the Jazz Messengers nevertheless contributed a plethora of hard swinging albums to the groupís catalog and helped define its lasting sound.

Blakeyís signature fills complete the fragmented but lyrical melody of "Dís Dilemma," including his patented pitch-altered triplets (the tension of the drum head manipulated by pressure from his elbow). Jackie McLean and Bill Hardmanís similarly acidic tones and pressing styles made them as complementary as any frontline in Jazz Messenger history. Even at this mid-tempo lope they both remain quite edgy — McLean with his bitter tone and slashing double-timed runs and Hardman cutting through with a metallic bite in his Harmon-muted choruses. Fans of hard bop will enjoy hearing McLean during his formative years and might be surprised by what this solid version of the Jazz Messengers has to offer.

Reviewer: Matt Leskovic

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