After the dissolution of the original Jazz Messengers, Art Blakey formed a new edition with Jackie McLean, Bill Hardman, Sam Dockery and Spanky De Brest. It's fitting that their first album would carry the title Hard Bop because that is what they and every subsequent lineup of the Jazz Messengers came to typify.
Beyond Blakey's always magnificent and contoured drumming, this quintet's strongest asset was the beautiful, tart blend of Jackie McLean's alto sax and Bill Hardman's trumpet. They phrased together with a forward thrust and their brash, peppery tones created a distinctive front line sound.
Repertoire was always an important factor in the Jazz Messengers' sound, and this hard-swinging session of December 12 and 13, 1956, mixed excellent originals by McLean and Hardman with jazz tunes by Mal Waldron and Gigi Gryce, two standards and a Gershwin medley.
1. Cranky Spanky
2. Stella by Starlight
3. My Heart Stood Still
4. Little Melonie
5. Stanley’s Stiff Chickens