National Youth Jazz Orchestra pay homage to Art Blakey

The music played by Arthur ‘Art’ Blakey (1919 – 1990) and his Jazz Messengers was the focus of a fine performance from six virtuosic players who enthralled the Petersfield audience with their own interpretations of a splendid selection of numbers from this legendary band leader.

Blakey was for years the seed bed for so many jazz musicians that went on to become legends in their own right.

From the 50s to the mid-80s such icons as Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Wynton Marsalis all played with Blakey. 

Clearly the NYJO is now a contemporary seed bed for a new generation of jazz instrumentalists of the highest caliber. It was established in 1965 to empower young musicians and inspire audiences across the UK. The sextet certainly did that in Petersfield.    

With individuals on saxophone, trumpet, trombone, double bass, drums and introduced by their outstanding keyboard player, all six were given the traditional opportunity of solos to exhibit their technical prowess to much acclaim by an audience of more than one hundred and fifty. The final applause for Blakey’s signature tune ‘Moanin’ rounded off an evening that demonstrated the love of jazz that exists in Petersfield.     

Michael Buckley