Art Blakey drums
Johnny Griffin tenor saxophone
Bill Hardman trumpet
Junior Mance piano
Sam Dockery piano
Spanky De Brest bass
Recorded at Beltone Recording, New York, in October 1957
Digitally remastered by Tom Multon & Greg Vaughn (Frankford Wayne Mastering Labs, New York)
Driven by Art Blakey, this is the sound of a young Jazz Messengers band, after their strong beginnings under Horace Silver. The Messengers of this period were defining the hard-bop style with its hard-swinging, and blues and gospel undertones.
The compositions and arrangements are first-rate. Griffin's 'Right Down Front' reflects the down-home spirit of hard bop, borrowing heavily from older spirituals and country blues. Hardman's intricate 'DEO-X' offers a more rhythmic bent that Blakey drives with power. Although this lineup would not last long past these recordings, the spirit they infused into the music would last for the next three decades of the group's existence.