Jez Nelson explores the musical journey of drummer and bandleader, Art Blakey.
From the 1950s to the 1980s Blakey's band, The Jazz Messengers served as a finishing school, inspiring hundreds of talented young players to carry the flame of modern jazz.
In this first part, we hear how Art Blakey helped bring the drums into the frontline of small band jazz, and in so doing played a key role in the development of Hard Bop.
We also examine the controversial issue of African drums in Blakey's rhythmic conception.
How true was Blakey's claim that Africa doesn't have a damn thing to do with jazz?
Contributors include pianist Horace Silver, ex-Messenger John Ramsay, and critic, Ira Gitler