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Horace Silver

Four Classic Albums

AVID AMSC1260 [81:00 + 81:33]

 

 

 

CD1
1-7: ‘Six Pieces of Silver’
1. Cool Eyes
2. Shirl
3. Camouflage
4. Enchantment
5. Senor Blues
6. Virgo
7. For Heaven’s Sake
8-13: ‘Further Explorations By The Horace Silver Quintet’
8. The Outlaw
9. Melancholy Mood
10. Pyramid
11. Moon Rays
12. Safari
13. Ill Wind
CD2
1-6: ‘The Stylings of Silver’
1. No Smokin’
2. The Back Beat
3. Soulville
4. Home Cookin’
5. Metamorphosis
6. My One and Only Love
7-14: ‘Finger Poppin’ With The Horace Silver Quintet’
7. Finger Poppin’
8. Juicy Lucy
9. Swingin’ The Samba
10. Sweet Stuff
11. Cookin’ At The Continental
12. Come On Home
13. You Happened My Way
14. Mellow D

‘Six Pieces of Silver’ Donald Byrd (trumpet): Hank Mobley (tenor sax): Horace Silver (piano): Doug Watkins (bass): Louis Hayes (drums) recorded November 1956

‘Further Explorations by The Horace Silver Quintet’ Art Farmer (trumpet): Clifford Jordan (tenor sax): Horace Silver (piano): Teddy Kotick (bass): Louis Hayes (drums) recorded January 1958

‘The Stylings of Silver’ Art Farmer (trumpet): Hank Mobley (tenor sax): Horace Silver (piano): Teddy Kotick (bass): Louis Hayes (drums) recorded May 1957

‘Finger Poppin’ With the Horace Silver Quintet’ Blue Mitchell (trumpet): Junior Cook (tenor sax): Horace Silver (piano): Eugene Taylor (bass): Louis Hayes (drums) recorded January 1959

 

There is indeed, and as advertised, some classic Horace Silver in this twofer. It opens with the first recording he made as leader,Six Pieces of Silver, and ends three years later with Finger Poppin’ with the Horace Silver Quintet. In that first album he presented six originals, including the immortal Senor Blues, and one standard in the shape of the solo piano ballad For Heaven’s Sake. Throughout, abetted by Donald Byrd and Hank Mobley in the front line and Doug Watkins and Louis Hayes, his funky credentials are on permanent show. Some of the slapstick quotations in Cool Eyes may grate but Shirl offers a romantic reverie shorn of extraneous frivolity. Mobley is at his near-finest on Camouflage where his allusive subtlety is a reminder of his greatness and he storms ahead on Virgo, a somewhat nondescript Silver tune that doesn’t seem so when Mobley has the reed in his mouth. Hayes takes a welcome and welcomingly brief solo here.

Only Hayes was retained for Further Explorations by the Horace Silver Quintet, Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan being the front line. Teddy Kotick is the bassist. Once again, the same ratio of originals and standards applied, the latter in this case being the Arlen-Koehler Ill Wind, which is played with loping grace. There are some crisp solos on the asymmetric The Outlaw, a trio outing on Melancholy Mood, and Latino rhythms on Pyramid. There’s a long, relatively up-tempo ballad original called Moon Rays, which is lively, full of brio and this contrasts with the fiery fast bop of Safari.

Farmer, Mobley, Kotick and the ever-present Hayes conjoin forThe Stylings of Silver wherein, almost inevitably, My One and Only Love is the only standard and Silver presents five originals. This is another excellent date, taut, compact, full of tangible rhythmic vivacity and attractive themes. Soulville is a funky excursion, Home Cookin’ a notable example of righteous swing and the standard is both deftly arranged and beautifully voiced by all concerned. Few could excite finger poppin’ like Silver and this last LP – all Rudy van Gelder productions by the way – caps the twofer with an eight-track, all original album of consummate charge. With Blue Mitchell now holding the trumpet chair and Junior Cook’s tenor to the fore, and with Eugene Taylor replacing Kotick, one is assured a vibrant closer. The title track is a jump theme with kicking front line solos, Juicy Lucy, a lazy-tempo blues, then there’s samba (impressive Cook), a trio on Sweet Stuff – Silver plays in the minor here - and a tight fast blues in the shape of Cookin’ at the Continental. For the ultimate in poppin’ fingers you’ll need to forward to Come on Home, a minor blues with resonant bass and unflaggingly swinging master pianism.

The original liner notes have been reproduced, one LP to a page, whilst the discographical details are spread attractively over two pages. Fine transfers ensure an easy ride for these genuinely classic tracks.

Jonathan Woolf

 


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