For Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, it all began in 1955. One could trace the beginnings of hard bop to the underrated classic recordings that Blakey and Horace Silver made with Miles Davis in the early 1950s, and there was an important pre-Messengers quintet that they had with Clifford Brown and Lou Donaldson in 1954. But it was the 1955 group which debuted on the Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers album that really launched both Blakey’s band and the Blue Note label’s commitment to recording the most exciting hard bop recordings ever heard. A few months later the same group, with Kenny Dorham and Hank Mobley, recorded two albums at New York’s Café Bohemia, showing that not only was the music more durable than one record, but that it would result in dozens of superb gems. The excitement of both performing in a brand new group and creating new music can be heard throughout this dazzling disc which contains the original versions of Dorham’s “Minor’s Holiday” and “Prince Albert.” This was history in the making and the musicians knew it.