Art Blakey led many editions of his Jazz Messengers over more than three decades, but a strong argument can be made that the Messengers of his Riverside period constituted his strongest unit. With Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and Curtis Fuller in the front line, with Cedar Walton and Reggie Workman as Blakey’s rhythm-section mates, its combination of musicianship and sheer swinging force has rarely been equaled in a small band. Caravan was the first of Blakey’s Riverside albums and endures as a living monument to his nonpareil drumming and leadership. His solo on the title tune is one of the finest recorded examples of Blakey’s unique melding of precision and power. Hubbard and Shorter contributed memorable compositions and, with Fuller and Walton, some of the greatest soloing of the 1960s.
2. Sweet ‘N’ Sour
3. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning