Art Blakey: The Jazz Messenger

LONDON Barbican Cinemas 2&3
Barbican, Beech Street


This classic documentary examines the musical career and legacy of Art Blakey, legendary drummer and bandleader of the Jazz Messengers.

“There is no one who has brought so many musicians to jazz,”
says Dizzy Gillespie of drummer Art Blakey, whose Jazz Messenger horn section included, down the years, everyone from Clifford Brownto Wynton Marsalis.

This film includes tributes to Blakey from ex-band members including Bobby Watson, Jean Toussaintand Terrence Blanchard, all of whom joined and graduated from the “Art Blakey University.” There are interviews with the man himself, and footage of him working with an expanded band in London, then back in New York scouting possible new Messengers at a club in Greenwich Village, and introducing a new group at another venue on the Upper West Side.

Director Dick Fontaine introduces his film with John Cumming, who produced Art Blakey's London residency.