This collection of albums contains some of the top work released by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (with two albums by Blakey without the Jazz Messengers.)
The period is one 1958 Jazz Messenger album, followed by two 1959 Blakey albums, and the rest clustered in the 1960-1961 timeframe. The ensembles are among the best Blakey ever assembled for the Jazz Messengers, with many of the albums based on the Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons and Jymie Merritt edition of the Jazz Messengers.
Here they are in order of release:
- 1958: Moanin' (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition). This is one of the all-time classic Jazz Messenger albums that every fan should own.
- 1959: Holiday for Skins, Vol. 1 and Holiday for Skins, Vol. 2. Blakey without the Jazz Messengers. An interesting study in Afro-Cuban grooves that is probably more relevant today than when it was released. I can guess that this may have had a big impact on Elvin Jones. The line-up is interesting because it contains two other highly regarded and influential drummers: Philly Joe Jones and Art Taylor.
- 1960: A Night in Tunisia (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition). Another classic Jazz Messengers album that belongs in every collection.
- 1961: The following were all recorded and released in 1961 except Roots & Herbs, which was released in 1970. Roots & Herbs, Mosiac, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (Impulse Records), and The Witch Doctor.