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BeatTips MusicStudy: Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers Taught Me How To Shuffle


Listening To One Of Jazz’s Most Prolific Groups, I Learned How To Add Natural Shuffle To My Beats

The Jazz Messengers are one of the richest sources of musical knowledge that we still have available to us. Initially Co-fronted by drummer Art Blakey and pianist Horace Silver, Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers (the moniker that was upheld after Silver left the group) was no ordinary outfit. Throughout the mid-1950s and late 1960s, the Jazz Messengers served as a virtual “music school” for some of jazz’s (especially hard bop’s) most recognizable names.

For me, what I got most from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers—I mean aside from a strong sense of timing—was how to “shuffle” certain elements within a song. Although there are some hip hop/rap songs that can provide some direction in how to make parts of songs shuffle, I’ve learned more in this regard from studying jazz, in particular, Art Blakely and the Jazz Messengers.

The music and video below is presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – “Moanin'”

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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual