Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers – Indestructible!

Damn! This record is what bop is all about. The early Blue Notes don’t capture it and the Rudy Van Gelder CD remasters squelch it. “The Egyptian” gets to business right away, taking up the first side of this two-record set.

More than one engineer has stated that percussive impact is tough to capture, but it’s perfection here. Art Blakey authoritatively slams down his drumsticks on the side of his kit and you can feel the resonance as they bounce off the rim. Meanwhile, Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, and Wayne Shorter battle for the limelight, each coming to the front of the stage, then stepping back while the other prepares to take a shot.  And that’s just the opening cut.

The sonics are larger than life, with Blakey keeping rock-solid time, the glue holding the band together. Surfaces are dead-quiet, yet full of life. Yes, it’s hard to believe these records were made from tapes now more than 50 years old. Music Matters continues to set the jazz standard for aural bliss.  —Jeff Dorgay

Music Matters, 180g 45RPM 2LP