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  Concord Records -
  Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Keystone 3
  "Keystone 3"

Art Blakey
Donald Brown (piano)
Charles Fambrough (bass)
Branford Marsalis (alto saxophone)
Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)
Bill Pierce (tenor saxophone)
Track listing:
  1. In Walked Bud
2. In A Sentimental Mood
3. Fuller Love
4. Waterfalls
5. A La Mode
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 3

Reviews: 3

Review by Oakland November 23, 2006 (8 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I have had Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers “Keystone 3” for a couple of years, but only in the last 6 months or so have I been giving it beaucoup spins.

To be sure, there is a serious dearth of high quality, well recorded, hirez jazz. Well, this disc can help fill an important gap in a hi-rez collection. This may very well be my favorite SACD jazz disc (next to “Blues in Orbit”) and it is a keeper regardless of format. Art Blakey had these then "Young Lions" (Donald Brown, piano, Charles Fambrough, bass, Branford Marsalis, alto, Wynton Marsalis, trumpet, Bill Pierce, tenor, and, of course, Blakey on drums) well honed. But all the while the improvising is brilliantly creatively and unrestrained.

From Thelonious Monks’ “In Walked Bud” to the final track “A La Mode”, I have found it almost impossible to walk away from this disc mid play. In Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood” tenor Bill Pierce is the bomb. And beginning with the third track “ Fuller Love”, to the last track Messengers go into a proverbial toe tappin’ jam session. Them cats is kickin', as expressed in the vernacular.

The multi-channel layer was a complete surprise bonus for me, as I bought this disc a good 18 months before I had multi-channel capability and did not even know that layer was there. The multi-channel mix is superb, completely debunking (again) that multi-channel cannot immeasurably add to the authenticity of the recorded jazz experience. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I “slipped in” "Keysone3" while listening with a friend of mine who is a certified jazz hound as I have ever known (the Keystone in San Francisco was one of his jazz dens). He had no experience with multi-channel outside of the movie house. I was specifically watching to see if he was at all "distracted" by the multi-channel presentation. He was not in the least. He just accepted it as the best "stereo" he had experienced. In spite of the reality that all 5 speakers are working hard, in "Keystone 3" the only real give away that this is multi-channel is the applause from the audience, that clearly comes from all around. But by the time that occurred my friend was comfortably ensconced/transported in the music, having already determined that he was at a near live jazz venue. So, the applause from all around was practically *expected*, not a surprise.

I should point out that I had intended to play only one track of “Key Stone 3” for my friend (we were sampling many jazz discs), but the performance is so compelling we listened to the entire disc. It is tough to walk away.

The sound quality, too, is top notch (two channel or multi-channel), helped no doubt that the original master tapes (not second generation) were used to make this SACD. In fact, the visceral attacks of Blakey’s percussion rival (but *not* match) the astounding direct-to-disc like percussion heard on the very well done newly recorded Count Basie Orchestra Live SACD.

This recording (in multi-channel) comes as close as any disc that I have heard, in any format, analog or digital; in presenting a “you are there” experience (as threadbare as that sounds). Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Gratitude” (Sony) transports you in a similar way, as does Widor’s “Mass Op .36 (JAV Recordings). (See my comments on these two discs at I believe that this reaction to “Keystone 3”, that comes from *every* listener who has heard this in my home, is due in large part because it was done in a live venue, in addition to it simply being well recorded, well mastered and superbly performed. Highly recommended!

Robert C. Lang

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Review by JW March 24, 2007 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This a very well recorded Concord live disc of Art Blakey's sextet with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet and his brother Branford on alto. It also features tenor saxophonist Bill Pierce, pianist Donald Brown and bassist Charles Fambrough. There are new tunes (Wynton's "Waterfalls" and Watson's "Fuller Love") and old materal ("In Walked Bud" and "In a Sentimental Mood").

This is hard-bop with on Wynton and Watson's tracks (3 and 4) some improvisational elements which, to my taste at least, at times depart a little too much from the melody and venture into more frantic lines. Having said that, it's one of those things where upon repeated listening one can discover more and more in these tracks. From that point of view they make this a very interesting and perhaps more adventurous disc than your regular straight ahead jazz album. The other three tracks are more immediately appealing with the wonderful balled 'In a Sentimental mood' and the classic 'In Walked Bud' as the opener.

The sound quality is excellent and in true Concord tradition with powerful, clear and rich sound.

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Review by Marc P June 9, 2003 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
To be honest I never heard of Art Blakey. I saw this disc on sale on some webshop and went to amazon to listen to some soundbites. I liked what I heard and bought it. After listening to it a couple of times I can say it isn't one of my favorites but it will get its fair ammount of playing time, because it really is a nice album.

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