Art Blakey was a pioneer of jazz drumming in the 20th century. His style and gentle character influenced countless musicians. In this centenary year of his birth, Oris has partnered with the Estate of Art Blakey to produce the Oris Art Blakey Limited Edition watch. It’s the latest in a series of watches dedicated to some of the true legends of jazz.
ABOUT ART BLAKEY
“On the eighth day, God created Art Blakey.” – Wynton Marsalis
Art Blakey would most likely have been a well-known pianist rather than a drummer were it not for what turned out to be a career-defining incident at a jazz club. His piano career came to an abrupt halt when the club owner pointed a gun at him and instructed Blakey to take over on drums while Errol Garner was commanded to take play the piano.
This incident went on to launch a prolific musical career for Art Blakey that spanned six decades and helped to nurture the careers of countless other jazz musicians.
Art Blakey formed his first band in 1947, a big-band concept which became a training ground for aspiring musicians. He made his first recordings for the famed jazz label Blue Note Records.
The following year he took a sabbatical to West Africa to become a student of polyrhythmic drumming, as well as religion and philosophy. He was supposed to visit for just two months but he stayed for two years. While there he converted to Islam and took the name Abdullah Ibn Buhaina. From that time on he was known affectionately as ‘Bu’ by family, friends, and fans alike.
In 1955 Art Blakey and Horace Silver co-founded the quintet that became known as the Jazz Messengers. In 1956, Horace Silver left the band to form his own group leaving the name, the Jazz Messengers, to Art Blakey.
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers became a mainstay on the jazz club circuit, recording for Blue Note Records, touring Europe and becoming the first American jazz band to play in Japan.
Art Blakey’s music earned many of the industry’s most coveted honors and awards including a 1984 Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance. In 2005, he was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2013.
THE ORIS ARTELIER ART BLAKEY LIMITED EDITION WATCH
Limited to 1000 pieces, the 38mm Art Blakey Limited Edition is destined to be another Oris musical collectors’ pieces. It’s based on the Artelier model with the dial designed to look like the clean silvered skin of Art’s bass drum decorated with eight claws around the circumference of the inner dial.
Encased in stainless steel, the watch runs on the Oris 733, a Selitta SW 200-1 base with a 38-hour power reserve. The Superluminova hands display hours, minutes and seconds. The watch comes on a brown leather strap with stainless steel folding clasp.
The Art Blakey Limited Edition arrives in its own special presentation box complete with a certificate of authenticity. To celebrate the launch of the watch on what would have been Art Blakey’s centenary year, the Jazz Messenger Tribute Band will perform at the Birdland Theater at Birdland Jazz Club in New York on October 23rd.