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October 11, 1919 – October 16, 1990
Like so many of the greats who came up during the music's Golden Age, Blakey was already playing professionally (he even had his own band) as a teenager.
He came to play drum in an unusual way. According to his own account, a club owner told him to get off the piano and play drums instead - at gunpoint no less.
A less violent set of transformations followed: Working as drummer Chick Webb's valet, playing in a group with Mary Lou Williams, three years on the road with Fletcher Henderson, a stint with Fletcher Henderson and then gigs with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughan.
Under his Jazz Messengers, Blakey attracted many great musicians almost too numerous to name...but lets try anyway:
Clifford Brown, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton, Chuck Mangione, Keith Jarrett, Reggie Workman, Lucky Thompson, John Hicks, Terence Blanchard, Kenny Dorham, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Charles Tolliver, Gary Bartz, Lou Donaldson, John Gilmore, Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, Billy Harper, Donald Harrison, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Ira Sullivan, Jean Toussaint, Wynton Kelly, Joanne, Brackeen, Walter Davis, Jr., Jaki Byard, Horace Silver, and Bobby Timmons.
I left a lot of people out I'm sure...but you get the idea.
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