36 Facts About Art Blakey


Arthur Blakey was an American jazz drummer and bandleader.


Art Blakey was known as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina after he converted to Islam for a short time in the late 1940s.


Art Blakey then worked with bebop musicians Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie.


Art Blakey was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.


Art Blakey was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.


Art Blakey was born on October 11,1919, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, probably to a single mother who died shortly after his birth; her name is often cited as Marie Roddicker, or Roddericker, although Art Blakey's own 1937 marriage license shows her maiden name to have been Jackson.


Art Blakey's uncle, Rubi Art Blakey, was a popular Pittsburgh singer, choral leader, and teacher who attended Fisk University.


Art Blakey was raised with his siblings by a family friend who became a surrogate mother.


The stories related by family and friends, and by Art Blakey himself, are contradictory as to how long he spent with the Parran family, but it is clear he spent some time with them growing up.


Art Blakey received some piano lessons at school but was self-taught.


Art Blakey switched from piano to drums at an uncertain date in the early 1930s.


An oft-quoted account of the event states that Art Blakey was forced at gunpoint to move from piano to drums by a club owner, to allow Erroll Garner to take over on piano.


The veracity of this story is called into question in the Gourse biography, as Art Blakey himself gives other accounts in addition to this one.


The style Art Blakey assumed was "the aggressive swing style of Chick Webb, Sid Catlett and Ray Bauduc".


From 1939 to 1944, Art Blakey played with fellow Pittsburgh native Mary Lou Williams and toured with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra.


Art Blakey led his own band at the Tic Toc Club in Boston for a short time.


From 1944 to 1947, Art Blakey worked with Billy Eckstine's big band.


Art Blakey is known to have recorded from 1947 to 1949.


Art Blakey studied and converted to Islam during this period, taking the name Abdullah Ibn Buhaina, although he stopped being a practicing Muslim in the 1950s and continued to perform under the name "Art Blakey" throughout his career.


Art Blakey toured with Buddy DeFranco from 1951 to 1953 in a band that included Kenny Drew.


Art Blakey went on to record dozens of albums with a constantly changing group of Jazz Messengers.


Art Blakey continued performing and touring with the group through the end of the 1980s.


Art Blakey didn't hear well out of one ear, but he could hear just fine out the other one.


Art Blakey could hear you just fine when you played something badly and he was quick to say 'Hey, you missed that there.


Art Blakey assumed an aggressive swing style of contemporaries Chick Webb, Sid Catlett and Ray Bauduc early in his career, and is known, alongside Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, as one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming.


Art Blakey was perhaps the best at maintaining independence with all four limbs.


Art Blakey's drumming form made continuing use of the traditional grip, though in later appearances he is seen using a matched grip.


Art Blakey used a variety of drum kits throughout his career including Gretsch, Premier and Sonor.


Art Blakey used Zildjian cymbals for much of his career, starting out as one of their top endorsers in the '50s and '60s and being one of their first artists to use the initial prototypes of what would become their K line of cymbals.


Art Blakey endorsed Paiste cymbals for much of the '70s and '80s, being one of the first users of Paiste's 2002 line upon their introduction in the early '70s.


Art Blakey married four times and had other long-lasting relationships throughout his life.


Art Blakey married his first wife, Clarice Stewart, while yet a teen, then Diana Bates, Atsuko Nakamura, and Anne Arnold.


Sandy Warren, another longtime companion of Art Blakey, published a book of reminiscences and favorite food recipes from the period of the late 1970s to early 1980s when Art Blakey lived in Northfield, New Jersey, with Warren and their son, Takashi.


Art Blakey was a heavy smoker; he appears in a cloud of smoke on the Buhaina's Delight album cover, and in extended footage of a 1973 appearance with Ginger Baker, Art Blakey begins a long drummers' "duel" with cigarette alight.


Art Blakey had been living in Manhattan when he died on October 16,1990, of lung cancer, five days after his 71st birthday, at St Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center.


Art Blakey was survived by five daughters, and four sons.