It’s possible to speak about Art Blakey as one of jazz’s monumental figures without mentioning the drums. You might talk about how few artists have represented a record label with the kind of ambassadorship that defined Blakey’s relationship with Blue Note. Although he recorded for many labels in his career, Blakey steered some of Blue Note’s finest bands and contributed a stack of its best-loved recordings as a leader and sideman. In the process, he designed the label’s first signature sound, the more patient, blues-soaked bop derivation called hard bop. ‘The Freedom Rider’ captures what was perhaps Blakey’s greatest band of Messengers on the cusp of their joint and separate greatness, while also showcasing his finest drum solo in the title track. An undervalued LP in his catalog, this record is an essential release in the story of Blue Note and Blakey himself.
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Discover new music.
We spend our days digging for great albums. And once we’ve found that gem of a record, we do everything we can to help you appreciate the music. From gorgeous album art to world-class listening guides, you’ll find yourself discovering something new every time you listen.
Score special-edition records (available nowhere else).
We’ve got a knack for crafting the most unique, definitive version of any album – old or new. Remastering and reissuing a lesser-known classic album with artist-authored liner notes? We do that. Collaborating with an emerging artist to release their music and tell their story? We do that too. Either way you cut it, we’re creating musical experiences that you won’t find anywhere else.
Swap it out.
With Swaps, you can exchange a featured record with one from the VMP Archive or from a collection of our store titles. Because after fine-tuning your taste over a lifetime, trusting someone else to curate your record collection can be scary. We get it, and we want to help you try new things without forcing a title on you that’s not a good fit.