Orgy in Rhythm

Artist: Art Blakey

Year: 1957

Genre: World Jazz

Grade: A-

Art Blakey’s thunderous performance is worth the price of admission alone, yet this 1957 double-LP endures as a curiosity in the world of world jazz because, for perhaps the first time in history, a popular American musician indulged themselves in African polyrhythms.

Orgy in Rhythm is strictly percussive-based, meaning the only accompaniment consists of spare bass, piano, sometimes-flute and occasional, free-form, shamanistic singing. The rest is all Blakey and his troupe of Afro-Cuban artillery men — a bomb blast of tribal cacophony with no less than seven drummers performing on each track. Aside from being a technical marvel, the end result is surprisingly melodic.

Blakey’s skillset is awe-inspiring — more powerful than Roach and quicker than Rich — which is why all of his albums are worth listening to. Orgy in Rhythm is an oddity within his catalogue, yet it is no less intriguing. Worth at least one listen.

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