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Featured Album: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers “Live” at the Cafe Bohemia Vol. One

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ArtBlakeyJazzMessengersBohemiaVolOne

This is the 3rd album featured here on Jazz Con Class recorded live from The Cafe Bohemia. A club that was located in Manhattan, New York and that only lasted for about two years. Such a short time but at a pivotal period of Jazz, when many greats were just beginning to emerge into the scene. They would stop by and sit in to get recognized. It was also a hangout for them and where they felt very comfortable. This is the first combination that Art Blakey assembled for his Jazz Messengers and the official name of this particular album simply was “Art Blakey and the Jazz messengers at the Cafe Bohemia Vol. One.” Don’t forget “Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia Vol 2,” both from the same night. Check the schedule link for play times.

About the Album:

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Art Blakey (drums); Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone); Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Horace Silver (piano); Doug Watkins (bass).

Recorded live at the Cafe Bohemia, New York, New York on November 23, 1955. Originally released on Bluenote (1507). Includes liner notes by Bob Blumenthal.

The Art Blakey/Horace Silver alliance that formed the Jazz Messengers in the ’50s kicked off one the greatest ensembles in the history of jazz. This first volume of a live set from the famous Cafe Bohemia in 1955 features one of the earliest line-ups with Kenny Dorham (trumpet), Hank Mobley (saxophone) and Doug Watkins (bass) along with Silver and Blakey. This is the pure, original Messengers sound that reflected the best of what became known as ’50s post-bop, also made popular by Miles Davis’ first great quintet of the same period. The grooves are swinging, the soloists are cool and the spirit of the blues is in the air……Learn More

More on Cafe Bohemia:

A June 13, 1956 Village Voice article describes the club’s origins as a jazz spot:

“First Birthday for Jazz Club That Started ‘by Accident’”

What Jimmy Garofolo, 42, knew about progressive jazz one year ago wouldn’t have filled a single bar – of music. What he’s learned since, however, was filling his bar – the Cafe Bohemia – every night last week, when the nightspot celebrated its first anniversary as a jazz club.

Seating only 100, the tiny Barrow Street club has become the only place in America with a policy of “progressive jazz only.”

“No rock ‘n roll, no vocalists, no big bands, no nuttin’ except small jazz combos,” Garofolo told The Voice Sunday [June 10, 1956]. “Once Birdland and Basin Street were the mecca of all true jazzmen; now a lot of them won’t go on the road until they’ve played the Bohemia, too. We’re a small place and we’ve given many a new outfit their first chance.”

Half a dozen LP record albums have been cut on the premises during the past 12 months, and their covers, along with others, line the walls in symmetrical rows. They include covers by the Bohemia’s two current stars – Miles Davis and Teddy Charles.

The fact that the Bohemia ever turned into a jazz club in the first place is almost accidental. Owner Garofolo, a lifelong Villager who lives across the street from his bar, explains: “For six years I tried to make the place pay, first as a bar and restaurant, then with girly shows, and then with various acts. One night I had to throw out a character who’d been drinking brandy alexanders without any money to pay for them. The next thing I knew, he was back offering to play a few weeks here to pay off his obligation – and because he wanted a regular home base from which to play when he was between engagements.

Guess Who? “Somebody told me his name was Charlie Parker and he was a saxophonist. I was pretty naive about jazz at the time and I didn’t know him from beans, but it turned out he was a big man in the jazz world.

“When I put out signs announcing he was going to play, I had a stream of people coming in wanting to know if the great Charley Parker was going to play here. It was the way they said ‘here’ that got me.”

The great Charley Parker never did get around to playing the Bohemia; he died before his engagement came up. But his prestige had done the trick – jazzophiles have jammed the place ever since.

 

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