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Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Studio album by
Releasedlate 1958[1]
RecordedOctober 30, 1958
StudioVan Gelder Studio
Hackensack, New Jersey
GenreHard bop
LabelBlue Note
BLP 4003
ProducerAlfred Lion
Art Blakey chronology
Art Blakey Big Band
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Drums Around the Corner
The Jazz Messengers chronology
Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk
The Big Beat

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, also called Moanin', is a studio album by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers recorded on October 30, 1958 and released on Blue Note later that year.[2]


This was Blakey's first album for Blue Note in several years, after a period of recording for a number of different labels, and marked both a homecoming and a fresh start. Originally the LP was self-titled, but the instant popularity of the bluesy opening track, "Moanin'," composed by pianist Bobby Timmons, led to its becoming known by that title.


The rest of the originals are by saxophonist Benny Golson (who was not with the Jazz Messengers for long, this being the only U.S. album on which he is featured). "Are You Real?" is a propulsive 32-bar piece with a four-bar tag, featuring two-part writing for Golson and trumpeter Lee Morgan. "Along Came Betty" is a more lyrical, long-lined piece, almost serving as the album's ballad. "The Drum Thunder Suite" is a feature for Blakey, in three movements: "Drum Thunder"; "Cry a Blue Tear"; and "Harlem's Disciples". "Blues March" calls on the feeling of the New Orleans marching bands, and the album finishes on its only standard, an unusually brisk reading of "Come Rain or Come Shine". Of the originals on the album, all but the "Drum Thunder Suite" became staples of the Messengers book, even after Timmons and Golson were gone. Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in his meticulous Hackensack studios, this recording reflects the hallmark precision associated with that engineer – on the 1999 CD reissue there is a brief conversation between Lee Morgan and Rudy Van Gelder going over Morgan's solo.


A vocalese version of "Moanin'" was later written by Jon Hendricks and recorded by his group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross,[3] as well as jazz vocalists Mel Tormé, Bill Henderson[4] and Karrin Allyson.


Professional ratings
Review scores
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[7]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings[8]

The album stands as one of the archetypal hard bop albums of the era, for the intensity of Blakey's drumming and the work of Morgan, Golson, and Timmons, and for its combination of old-fashioned gospel and blues influences with a sophisticated modern jazz sensibility. The album was identified by jazz critic Scott Yanow as one of "17 Essential Hard Bop Recordings".[9] AllMusic gives it a five-star review, stating: "Moanin' includes some of the greatest music Blakey produced in the studio with arguably his very best band. ... ranks with the very best of Blakey and what modern jazz offered in the late '50s and beyond."[5]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

All tracks are written by Benny Golson, except as noted.

Side 1
1."Moanin'"Bobby Timmons9:35
2."Are You Real"
3."Along Came Betty" 6:12
Side 2
1."The Drum Thunder (Miniature) Suite"
"First Theme: Drum Thunder"
"Second Theme: Cry a Blue Tear"
"Third Theme: Harlem's Disciples"

2."Blues March" 6:17
3."Come Rain or Come Shine"5:49
Total length:40:16

CD reissue[edit]

1."Warm-up and dialogue between Lee Morgan and Rudy Van Gelder" 0:35
2."Moanin'"Bobby Timmons9:35
3."Are You Real" 4:50
4."Along Came Betty"
  • Golson
  • Morgan
5."The Drum Thunder Suite" 7:33
6."Blues March" 6:17
7."Come Rain or Come Shine"
  • Arlen
  • Mercer
8."Moanin'" (alternate take)Timmons9:19


Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers[edit]

Technical personnel[edit]


Chart performance for Moanin'
Chart (2021) Peak
Swedish Vinyl Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[11] 2


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Reviews and Ratings of New Jazz Albums", Billboard, January 19, 1959, p. 53.
  3. ^ "Moanin'".
  4. ^ "His Complete Vee-Jay Recordings, Vol. 1 [1993] - Bill Henderson | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  5. ^ a b AllMusic review by Michael G. Nastos.
  6. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. pp. 25. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  8. ^ Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (9th ed.). London: Penguin. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-14-103401-0.
  9. ^ Yanow, Scott. "hardbopz". Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  10. ^ "Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - Moanin'". Discogs.
  11. ^ "Veckolista Vinyl, vecka 15" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved April 18, 2021.