Art Blakey

Born in 1919, Art Blakey began his musical career, as did many jazz musicians, in the church. The foster son of a devout Seventh Day Adventist Family, Art learned the piano as he learned the Bible, mastering both at an early age.

But as Art himself told it so many times, his career on the piano ended at the wrong end of a pistol when the owner of the Democratic Club—the Pittsburgh nightclub where he was gigging—ordered him off the piano and onto the drums.

Art, then in his early teens and a budding pianist, was usurped by an equally young, Erroll Garner who, as it turned out, was as skilled at the piano as Blakey later was at the drums. The upset turned into

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