What’s In A Name: “Abdullah”

This composition was quite likely named after Art Blakey’s Muslim name, Abdullah Buhaina. The Blakey solo that kicks off this recording sets up the classic high-energy style for which Blakey was renowned. Elmo later recorded this piece as a trio with Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones; that version (released in 1961 on “Here’s Hope” (Celebrity LB209)) has a laid-back swing feel—a casual shuffle in comparison to the earlier recording’s out-of-breath explosion of energy. The fact that the composition works just as well in these two moods is a testament to Elmo’s talents. -Rachel Bronstein

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