Drummer Art Blakey lived and breathed hard bop. He epitomised the music’s snapping, pulsating drive with each beat from his kit. Yet his vision extended way beyond the technicalities of playing, as his band The Jazz Messengers became an institution, a renowned ‘finishing school’ for many of the music’s biggest names. With his centenary being celebrated this month, Stuart Nicholson speaks to those that knew him and assesses the impact of Blakey’s enduring legacy
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