Aside from having a very prolific career, Art Blakey is considered one of the inventors of the modern drumming today. As such, he had a very unique and distinctive drumming style. We call these Blakey signature trademarks, “Bu-isms”. The following transcriptions are from John Ramsey’s book Art Blakey’s Jazz Messages.



The Next four examples are from the tune “A Night in Tunisia” on the album A Night at Birdland (Blue Note BN 1522 vol. 1; also heard on “Avilla Tequila”, from the album Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia, vol. 2. (Blue Note BST 84090). The eighth notes can be slightly swung.


Please view the KEY for instructions on how interpret the transcriptions.


Written by John Ramsay, Blakey (Art Blakey)

Buy the Book

Listen to Example 5B below:

Listen to Example 5C below:

Listen to Example 5D below:

Click here to listen to Example 5E below:


Art used a four-piece set until the 1970’s when he added a tom-tom, using tow mounted toms (8×12 and 9×13). When I joined the big band in 1980’s Pearl Drums provided us with two seven piece kits (three mounted toms and two floor toms). Art used this type of set until he died.

Listen to Example 1C below:

Listen to Example 1D below:


Click here to listen to Example 2A below:


Listen to Example 3I below:


Listen to Example 4A below: