JJ 01/62: Art Blakey – A Night In Tunisia

Sixty years ago Gerald Lascelles hailed an album that while often loud and brash had some excellent solos. First published in JJ January 1962


People who like Art Blakey and loud drum solos will enjoy this record. So far as my personal taste is concerned, the opener would have been better titled “Nightmare In Tunisia”. It suffers from being disjointed, untidy, and even, I regret to say, not very well played.

The rest of the tracks follow a reasonably predictable and less frenzied pattern. “Diana”, a tribute to Art’s charming wife, starts and finishes with the usual brash unison sound, embraces several choruses of solo work, and fades on what might have been a particularly interesting coda by Bobby Timmons.

“So Tired” is another Timmons crea­tion, rather fast and tense, which builds up into a long solo by Lee Morgan, whose bugle-like approach to trumpet playing never ceases to fascinate me.

“Yama” is the quietest and the most probing piece in the set, with excellent solos by Timmons and Shorter, but I enjoyed most the stabbing 3/4 rhythm which intrudes on “Kozo’s Waltz”, a drummer’s piece if ever there was one!

A Night In Tunisia; Sincerely Diana (18¼ min) – So Tired; Yama; Kozo’s Waltz (20 min)
Lee Morgan (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ten); Bobby Timmons (p); Jymie Merritt (bs); Art Blakey (d).
(Blue Note BLP 4049 12inLP 45s. 6d.)