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A Night at Birdland (1954) A
For all my Max Roach praise, Art Blakey’s performance on his first Night at Birdland LP may rank equal to the best that Roach ever recorded. Clifford Brown, too, delivers passionate solos that are among the trumpeter’s signature works. But the proceedings are anchored by Horace Silver, the pianist who pens the concert’s two best tracks — “Split Kick” and “Quicksilver.” Like Jazz at Massey Hallor Ellington at Newport, Art Blakey’s Night at Birdland captures a rarified live atmosphere that translates perfectly to record.