A Pair of Extroverts
This week at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café one of the the most thoughtful young men that I know will be featured. Sean Dobbins is the personable quiet leader of the Sean Dobbins Quintet. Spend time with Sean when he is mentoring a child or exchanging glances with band mates and you would think he is sort of mild mannered. However, Sean is transformed into an extrovert when he is on the bandstand. Kerbang. Sean doesn’t hold back. His drums lead and inform his cohorts with a driving and forceful beat that is sure and authoritative. Everyone has to keep up. It makes for great music.
Similarly, Art Blakey led his Jazz Messengers jazz combo with gusto for over thirty-five years beginning in the early 1950s until his death in 1990. If Detroit is the where jazz musicians got their early education, Art Blakey’s bands were their finishing school. Over 150 musicians spent time under his watchful eye and ear. Through all the transformations that The Messengers took, the one constant was Art Blakey. Art was well aware of what was happening. Good musicians grew into great musicians and started their own outfits. He encouraged them. They were the products of the Messengers’ success. This was all evidence of Art Blakey’s philosophy at work. He hand picked, nourished and wished bon voyage to musicians like Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Benny Green, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Curtice Fuller, Lee Morgan, Thelonius Monk, Keith Jarrett, Chuck Mangione, Wayne Shorter, Terrance Blanchard and Mulgrew Miller among others to strike out on their own . He always brought in younger players which kept him young. “Yes sir, I’m gonna to stay with the youngsters. When these get too old, I’m gonna get some younger ones. Keeps the mind active” Art said. Throughout his career, Blakey played and recorded as a sideman and leader with many other groups, but his legacy will be the many messengers for jazz that he nudged into stardom.
Sean and Art Blakey are powerful examples of leaders whose exuberance for the music has changed the lives around them. Two quiet strong men whose strength and enthusiasm have pushed others to succeed.
Here are a pair of extraverts at work starting with Art Blakey.
Here is Art Blakey doing his imitation of Sean Dobbins.