The beginning career of jazz music legend Art Blakey was amazing. He took piano lessons at school. When he was in the seventh grade he played music full-time and was leading a popular band. Not too long after, he started playing drums in the style of such players as Ray Bauduc, Chick Webb and Sid Catlett. He taught himself how to play.

He played with Mary Lou Williams at Kelly's Stable in 1942. Next, with Fletcher Henderson for the next two years, and he toured with. Art then went to Boston to lead a big band, then joined Billy Eckstine's band in St. Louis. Art stayed with that band from 1944-1947.

Art was considered to be among jazz music's finest musicians such as Fats Navarro, Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon. In 1947 when Eckstine's band broke up, Art started the Seventeen Messengers. He would go on to have several other groups with this same name. He then went to Africa to learn all about Islamic people for over a year. By the 1950's he performed with Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Horace Silver.

After they performed together many times, he started another group with Horace which included Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley with the name Jazz Messengers. Horace left a year later. He was the known leader of the band. The Jazz Messengers played hard-bop jazz music. The roots of which were blues music. Hard bop is a mixture of bebop with gospel and soul music. An example of this is his album Moanin' recorded on Blue Note Records in 1958. They fought hard to keep black people interested in jazz, when the ballroom jazz music disappeared. Many young musicians during the years have been influenced by this style. Jazz musicians such as Keith Jarrett, JoAnne Brackcen, Woody Shaw , Donald Byrd, Delfeayo, Branford and Wynton Marsalis.

In 1971 to 1972, Art world toured with the biggest names in jazz music such as Kai Winding, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. He also performed a lot at the Newport Jazz Festival. The best performance was when he was in a battling performance with Buddy Rich, Max Roach and Elvin Jones in 1974. Art continued to tour nonstop with help from Donald Harrison and Terence Blanchard, along with younger musicians such as Benny Green.

Art never thought of his music as similar to African style, although he did use some of their techniques such as using his elbow on the tom-tom to alter pitch. His trademark, the forced closing of the hi-hat on each second and fourth beat was created in 1950-1951, which many jazz musicians copied.

A major jazz musician and innovative in his drum style, he was unique and performed with power. The way he played was loud and aggressive. The jazz critics basically ignored what he did in the 1960's. American audiences left him behind in the 1970's when rock music took over the scene.

He always made time for young jazz musicians, listening to them, and helping them with their jazz music careers.


One of the most beautiful interpreters of song are Jazz singers. The abilities of the human voice is phenomenal in the fact that one could imitate another person or instrument, or sing several octaves on the piano. The human voice can also interpret emotion in a way only a human can. Jazz instruments can express emotion, but the natural gift from within the human voice is conveyed in a variety of ways.

For example, each singer has his or her own style they were born with. Some of them may not be the best singers that Simon Cowell would compliment. However, there are many Jazz legends and people like them who have their own unique style. The je ne sias quoi x factor of a voice that is unusual, yet pleasing to the ears. The Jazz singers who have this quality have been heard in many clubs, and recordings in the past.

These Jazz Legends have helped make Jazz music popular especially with the use of the voice. There are four different types of Jazz singers that made it in the world of Jazz music. One style is the well-known crooner sound from singers such as Ivie Anderson, Harry Connick Jr., Mel Torme` Michael Buble`, Tony Bennett, Billy Eckstine, Mildred Bailey, Michael Kaczurak, Sathima Bea Benjamin, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Johnny Hartman, Bing Crosby, and Nat King Cole. The signature element of the crooner sound is a voice with a smooth and sophisticated resonance made for the microphone as clear as a radio announcers speaking voice.

Another style of Vocal Jazz Singers is the soulful bluesy sound with Singers such as Diane Schuur, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, Etta James, Della Reese, and more. The soulful sound of voice is the skill of ornamentation of the voice running up and down the scale with ease. Bluesy and soulful is also a depth in the range of the voice that sound as if it comes direction from the soul. There are Jazz music Virtuoso's who have the ability to do anything from vocalese to scat to ballad to fast and complex in perfection. The Jazz singers of this category are Ella Fitzgerald, Phoebe Snow, Eva Cassidy, Ernestine Anderson, Betty Carter, Cab Calloway, Sammy Davis Jr., Eddie Jefferson, Bobby McFerrin Jr., Jon Hendricks, Slim Gaillard, Rachelle Ferrell, Annie Ross, Etta Jones, Dame Cleo Laine, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen Mercedes McRae, Mabel Mercer, Nikoletta Szoke, and Nancy Wilson.

The Virtuoso can croon a ballad and articulate it in a unique way. The virtuoso Jazz singer can also be strong and sassy and scat in great complexity with ease. There is no doubt that the virtuoso Jazz singer is the total embodiment of what Jazz is all about. The last type of vocalist has an ethereal appeal that seems to come out of another place with uniqueness in sound, and suitable to the world of Jazz.

The unique style of Jazz singers is a sound that one doesn't usually hear. For example, the uniqueness can come from the sound quality of the voice or by doing something that sets the Jazz singer on a different plane than the others. Singers of this category are Amos Leon Thomas, Billy Holiday, Lee Wiley, Blossom Dearie, Shirley Horne, Rita Reys, Eartha Kitt, Anita O'Day, Ray Reach, Ethel Waters, Monica Zetterlund, Jimmy Rushing, Louis Armstrong, Cassandra Wilson, Al Jarreau, and Dennis Rowland. Each one has a particular sound of raspy, lush, high pitched, yodeling, vibrato, or gift of humor.

There are also the average Jazz singers who deserve to be in the spotlight also for having what it takes to make it successfully in Jazz.