Art Blakey Buttercorn Lady (1966) Mercury UK

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Selection 1Recuerdo (C Mangione) long!

Selection 2: Between Races (C. Mangione) not so long

Artists

Chuck Mangione (t) Frank Mitchell (ts) Keith Jarrett (p) Reggie Johnson (b) Art Blakey (d) recorded at the “Lighthouse Club”, Hermosa Beach, CA, January 1 & 9, 1966

The young Keith Jarrett, age 21, on piano, at the very start of his career, only his second time ever on record.

Year: 1966

1966

1966, Joan Baez and Judy Collins mistakenly attend a march supporting the Vietnam War organized by Students for a Democratic Society in South Vietnam; Health warnings appear on cigarette packets, however smoking continues to look cool

Music

1966, Blue Note had taken Liberties, but whatever happened to….Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers?  Blakey just carried on regardless. He didn’t move to Europe, didn’t join the Free or Avant Guard movement, he sent The Funky Chicken back to the kitchen, he just loved playing his style of modern jazz and had no intention of allowing changing times to deflect him. The School of Art Blakey simply took in a new class – Chuck Mangione, and unbelievably, the young Keith Jarrett for this one recording. Each record from now on introduced a parade of new faces.

Most of his releases from this date on are a pale shadow of The Messengers, and there is such a huge catalogue available from those heady early years not to bother with the later works, however this one caught my curiosity, recalling Chuck Mangione from decades ago in the fusion years, and any early signs of the later ascetic introverted ECM school of chamber jazz, Keith Jarrett

Vinyl: Mercury Limelight series SLML4021

UK Philips pressing more or less guaranteed you would get the best presentation, whatever the merit of the recording engineer on this live date, which is quite acceptable.

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Collectors Corner

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With so much great music available, there should also be time to indulge curiosity. So now we know what happened to Art Blakey. A reminder of the great lineups that were to be no more:

Art Blakey Lineups

I stopped the chart at 1964 , as from there on a bewildering array of faces came and went and the music somewhat tired in comparison.

Fine wines improve with age, in theory, so should musicians. As is often the case, with the odd exception, theory fails to be in accord with the facts.  The explanation of this is usually another theory, the Fire of Youth Theory, and I don’t buy that either. The lesson learned here is the limited explanatory power of explanations. I recommend you simply check things out for yourself. It’s a lot more straight forward.

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7 thoughts on “Art Blakey Buttercorn Lady (1966) Mercury UK

  1. I recently sold my Limelight copy,didn’t like the music at all! The only interesting thing about this record is the unfamiliar line-up.As far as I know it was a one time combination.

    • I agree, the purpose of the post was intended more as a “boundary marker”, not a lot of purpose in venturing beyond here with Art Blakey. Anodyne, mostly harmless. The Title track Buttercorn Lady is cheesy (one might say corny), and another track is music from the Film “Jumbo”.

      How the mighty have fallen.

      • I think the previous Limelight album may be worth having, certainly Morgan is still on board, and the track ‘Buh’s Bossa’ was one of the tracks that got me into jazz, when it was on a compilation I bought in the 80s.
        The one after on the other hand ‘Hold On I’m Coming’ is not what you’d want from a Blakey album.
        I think after that he didn’t make another studio album until the two he made for Prestige in the early 70s. I quite like these, but they’re not for Blakey traditionalists.
        But all this talk of Blakey made me start the day by playing ‘Ugetsu’ which might just be my favourite Jazz Messengers album.

          • I think it was the first Blakey album that I bought – UK Interdisc Riverside bought from Mole Jazz – so that may lead me to over value it musically. But I do think that the version of Ping Pong is better than the Blue Note studio take.

  2. I recently picked up a Blakey curiosity: A Jazz Message from the previous year with Sonny Stitt, McCoy Tyner and Art Davis on HMV/Impulse mono. It’s an incredibly straight-ahead and tame session for 1965, may be a reaction to all the free stuff given Tyner had just left Coltrane’s band. It does, however, have the merit of being beautifully recorded by Bob Thiele and is a sparkling pressing…well mine is anyway.It hardly matches up to the likes of Free for All though.

    • That record does sound glorious (I have a US pressing). It’s a perfectly pleasant straight-ahead session, but you’re right about the context. Here are Blakey’s recording dates surrounding that date:

      October 1962 – Caravan
      June 1963 – Ugetsu
      Sept. 1963 – A Jazz Message
      Feb. 1964 – Free For All
      Feb. 1964 – Kyoto
      April 1964 – Indestructible

      To call A Jazz Message the least challenging album in this list is an understatement.

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