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ART BLAKEY and DONALD BYRD! 1955 8x10 Photo of the Original Lineup of the Jazz Messengers Signed by Blakey & Byrd (SOLD!!!)

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I doubt if you'll ever see one of these again. Serious jazz collectors will recognize the lineup as the original 1955 incarnation of the legendary Jazz Messengers, pictured from left to right; Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, Doug Watkins, Kenny Dorham and Art Blakey (seated). (Byrd is not in the photo, he replaced Dorham in 1956.) Interestingly, they are even wearing the same clothes that they were photographed wearing on the cover of their first LP series on Blue Note "At the Cafe Bohemia Volume 1 & 2" ( Blue Note BLP 1507 & 1508, released in 1956, recorded in 1955), which leads me to beleive that the photo session that yielded this pic was taken the night of that legendary show. Blakey has signed in turquoise ink, " To Kat & Tom/ Keep Swinging/ Your Friend/ Art Blakey". Byrd has signed, "To Kat & Tom/ Ad infinity/ Donaldson T L Byrd". (Byrd's real full name is Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture II). Now for the bad news: this photo is in poor condition and is very fragile from wear. There is corner and edge damage from tape, some creasing and there is a tear directly above Byrd's name, along his inscription. Blakey's signature is bold and beautiful, but Byrd's is faded. Please click on the above image to get a large closeup that will give you a better idea of the condition of the piece. Fortunately, the image itself looks pretty good and the damge won't be too noticable if this piece is framed properly. Condition aside, this is a wonderful find for serious bebop collectors.

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