Jazz 100
Hard Bop
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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A Night at Birdland, Volume 1
Art Blakey
1954 [Blue Note]


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Birdland played host to jazz history in the making in February 1954 when drummer Art Blakey's quintet showcased music that would go on to define the hard bop style. Something memorable was on the cards with a lineup that included trumpeter Clifford Brown, Horace Silver's piano and Lou Donaldson on alto. Volume 2 is almost as good.





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A Blowin' Session
Johnny Griffin
1957 [Blue Note]


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The "world's fastest saxophonist" proves his reputation is well-justified on this 1957 effort. Excessive speed seems to be of the essence for the tenor showdown between Griffin, John Coltrane and Hank Mobley on 'The Way You Look Tonight'. Still, it's pretty hard to pass up any 50s Blue Note featuring such a star-studded lineup.





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Somethin' Else
Cannonball Adderley
1958 [Blue Note]


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Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's albums from the late-50s all had one thing common - a great supporting cast. In this case the backup includes Miles Davis on trumpet and pianist Hank Jones, with Sam Jones and drummer Art Blakey driving the rhythm section. A true classic of hard bop, the remastered CD release sports an extra track.





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Moanin'
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers
1958 [Blue Note]


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Drummer Blakey's third incarnation of the Messengers is generally considered the best, despite the fact tenor Benny Golson only lasted a few months with the group. Band members contribute most of the tunes, including the hit title track by pianist Bobby Timmons. Trumpeter Lee Morgan - still only 20 - continues his march to stardom.





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Open Sesame
Freddie Hubbard
1960 [Blue Note]


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Hubbard’s first headliner sees the hard bop trumpeter get some help from another young-gun, pianist McCoy Tyner. The result is a soaring portent of things to come, with the title track and ‘One Mint Julep’ both shining brightly. Other support comes in the form of saxophonist Tina Brooks, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Clifford Jarvis.





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We Insist! Freedom Now Suite
Max Roach
1960 [Candid/Columbia]


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This is uncompromising hard bop with an in-your-face social conscience. We Insist! is one of the defining statements of America's black civil rights movement. Drummer Max Roach defied convention when he teamed up with veteran tenor Coleman Hawkins and indomitable vocalist Abbey Lincoln to make this classic protest record.





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The Blues & the Abstract Truth
Oliver Nelson
1961 [Impulse!]


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With the 60s going completely wild, hard boppin' was still alive and well on records like this one. Alto duties are shared between Nelson and Eric Dolphy, with 'Teenie's Blues' being one of the all-time great showdowns on the instrument. The highlight, however, is the entrancingly sombre Freddie Hubbard 'Stolen Moments' trumpet solo.





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Free for All
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers
1964 [Blue Note]


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Drummer Art Blakey virtually invented hard bop. This hard-to-beat later lineup of the Jazz Messengers features Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Cedar Walton on piano, and Reggie Workman on bass. With Wayne Shorter penning two of the four tracks, elements of free jazz were creeping in.


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