Under the leadership of drumming dynamo Art Blakey, the Jazz Messengers were at the forefront of the US jazz scene from 1955 through to Blakey’s passing in 1990.
A host of elite players passed through the band, always maintaining an urgent, teak-tough sound, the epitome of ‘hard bop’. To name a few: Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, the list could go on.
The sound, the spirit and the repertoire of The Jazz Messengers can still be enjoyed today, thanks to this stellar band of Messengers alumni. They are Bobby Watson (alto sax), Bill Pierce (tenor sax), Brian Lynch (trumpet), Geoffrey Keezer (piano) and Essiet Okon Essiet (bass).
Leading this band is drummer Ralph Peterson. One of the few drummers with the power and authority to take Art Blakey’s place with this band, Peterson was mentored by Blakey when he arrived in New York. He sees this band as keeping an important part of jazz history alive and swinging.