With a music career that he began in the 1930s as a pianist, Arthur “Art” Blakey would transform himself into a powerful player and one of America’s great jazz drummers and bandleaders.
Having been influenced and tutored by the legendary Chick Webb, Blakey experienced the Big Band heyday of the 1940s playing with the Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine bands. He also worked with bebop innovators Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. By the1950s, he had teamed with Horace Silver to form the hard bop Jazz Messengers, with which he would be associated for some 35 years, and which became the proving ground for the likes of Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Timmons, Curtis Fuller, Chuck Mangione, Keith Jarrett, Joanne Brackeen, Woody Shaw, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison and Mulgrew Miller.
He was awarded a Berklee College of Music Doctorate of
Music and having earned a place in the Down Beat, Grammy, Newport Jazz Festival and Jazz Halls of Fame, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.