Concert key: F
Style: Uptempo swing
Recording Information: Recorded on December 12, 1956, and first released on "Hard Bop" / Art Blakey (Columbia CL 1040)
- Trumpet - Bill Hardman
- Alto Sax - Jackie McLean
- Piano - Sam Dockery
- Bass - Spanky DeBrest
- Drums - Art Blakey
Description: Our audio excerpt starts with the introduction: an interesting three-measure bopish, definitely F major, unaccompanied horn line followed by one measure of rest, then a four measure drum solo. Next, the melody surprises us by starting in D minor, then moving to A minor, then it seems to go to E-flat, but actually quickly moves to D-flat, then starts to cycle down a step, but instead goes to F major, then it's back to D minor for the second 16 measures. The wild four measure final ending is notated in all of the lead sheets.
Historical Notes: This is Bill Hardman's first recording as a Jazz Messenger, in Art Blakey's new quintet front line with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean. McLean introduced Hardman to the jazz world on August 31, 1956, with his Prestige album "Jackie's Pal: Jackie McLean Quintet Introducing Bill Hardman."
The Messengers started their December 12 session with Cranky Spanky, which we know was already firmly established in the group's book since it appears on Bill's first TV appearance as a Messenger, which preceded the recording date by more than a month ("Stars of Jazz" TV-Show, Los Angeles, October 30, 1956).
The title is a tribute to The Jazz Messengers bassist, Spanky DeBrest. Some of us wonder if playing it made him cranky.