Arthur “Art” Blakey (1919–1990) was a jazz drummer and one of the most important bandleaders in jazz history.

Art Blakey

Starting his career in 1940s big bands, he worked with bebop icons Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, until he formed the Jazz Messengers with Horace Silver in the mid-1950s. That group became an incubator for young talent and spawned many great jazz careers, including Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Donald Byrd, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Wynton Marsalis. From the 1960s onwards, Blakey was one of the most influential proponents of the hard bop style of jazz music.