Following on the heels of our spirited Jazz Messenger release Hard Bop is one of our absolute favorite Art Blakey discs: Drum Suite. Whether he intended to or not, Blakey (along with drummer "Papa" Jo Jones, percussionists Sabu and Candido, pianist Ray Bryant, percussionist Charles Wright, and bassist Oscar Pettiford) invented Afrobeat jazz, spearheading a movement that would bring us Herb Alpert, Joabim Giberto, and many others. Recorded on first take, the three movement suite on side one is a rousing display of drums, congas, piano and bass, with some great shout-chanting thrown in for good measure. The feeling is joyful and assertive, while the incredible musicianship of Blakey and his men tie it all down. Interspersed with the tribal drumming is Bryant bringing the hard be-bop stylings, both throwing off and digging in to the groove simultaneously. Somehow this melange of vastly differing styles works perfectly, creating a work that Steve Leggett of All Music Guide to rave: "groundbreaking for it´s time, and still sounding vital, powerful and visionary. Drum Suite is sort of a lost masterpiece that deserves a fresh audience." We couldn´t agree more, so we made some for 2,500 of our closest friends (you know who you are!). Our 180-gram LP was cut by Kevin Gray and Robert Pincus with original analog mono master tapes and without any processing that would keep you from the energy of this rarified experience. Side two contains some outstanding Messengers jams with Blakey´s usual cohorts at the time (Bill Hardman, Jackie McLean, Spanky DeBrest, and Sam Dockery) played with typical fiery abandon. As Blakey told Hardman, "don´t worry about a thing: just wail." Indeed.