One of a number of Art Blakey albums titled after "Night In Tunisia" – and most likely the best! The tune is a perfect fit for the Blakey Jazz Messengers format – long, rhythmic, really stretching out, yet allowing plenty of space for the horn players to solo. Players include Bobby Timmons on piano, Lee Morgan on trumpet, and Wayne Shorter on tenor – a killer lineup that's in really classic form here – driven on nicely by Blakey's drums and bass work by Jymie Merritt. Titles include "Night In Tunisia", with Blakey thundering through impeccably – plus the tracks "Yama", "Kozo's Waltz", and a version of Timmons' great "So Tired".
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers met their artistic peak with the powerful A NIGHT IN TUNISIA. This incarnation of the group included Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons and Jymie Merritt with their leader Blakey. As the Messengers entered their most fruitful period for Blue Note, Blakey drove his men relentlessly with powerful grooves, heavy swinging and shouts of encouragement. This session documents the full power of his assertive leadership and the masterful playing of his sidemen, each rising to legendary status under his tutelage.
Lion and Van Gelder captured drummer Art Blakey's quintet at the New York nightclub on a night when they were really cooking. Because of their efforts, listeners have been able to relive A Night at Birdland whenever they wanted to. Now, Van Gelder has digitally remastered the two-volume set. Originally, nine songs recorded that night were released on three 10-inch records. Two years later, an alternate take of Horace Silver's "Quicksilver" had been added to the expanded 12-inch format. In 1975, three additional songs and an alternate track of "Wee-Dot" were added to the two albums.
This 1959 concert in Paris by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers has been sporadically available on various labels, but this reissue in Verve's Jazz in Paris series is the best sounding and best packaged of the lot. Blakey's group of this period (Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Jymie Merritt, and Walter Davis, Jr.) is in great form during an extended workout of Morgan's intense blues "The Midget," and Dizzy Gillespie's timeless "A Night in Tunisia" is kicked off by Blakey's an electrifying solo. But it is the addition of some special guests for the first two numbers that proves to be extra special. Bud Powell, sitting in for Davis, and French saxophonist Barney Wilen, on alto rather than his normal tenor sax, are both added to the band for inspired versions of Powell's "Dance of the Infidels" and "Bouncing with Bud." Morgan's trumpet playing is outstanding throughout the concert. This is one of the essential live dates in Art Blakey's rather extensive discography.