Horace SILVER Quintet – Song For My Father 1964

Horace SILVER Quintet – Song For My Father 1964
1999 Issue.


Yet another jazz steal; this time, Steely Dan borrowed the title track for “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Horace Silver should take heart, this is his most successful album and one that finds its way onto many recommended lists, not just for the jazz fraternity. Its strength is its accessibility, and in keeping with many piano leader albums Silver does not seek to dominate. The reissued CD version contains four extra tracks from the same 1963/4 sessions.
Since its title track provided the inspiration for Steely Dan’s “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number,” Song for My Father has become known as the jazz recording that launched a thousand bad rock records. Yet whatever pretensions Steely Dan and their legion of desperately hip imitators had shouldn’t be laid at pianist Horace Silver’s door: this is one of Blue Note’s warmest and most satisfying collections–and that’s saying something. A pioneer of the hard-bop style, which combined gospel and R&B with jazz, Silver authored many outstanding compositions, including not just “Song for My Father,” but “Opus de Funk,” “Nica’s Dream,” “Senor Blues,” and “The Preacher.” His quintets, which featured tenor sax and trumpet, spotlighted such up-and-coming talents as trumpeters Woody Shaw, Art Farmer, and Donald Byrd. On Song for My Father, the band features tenorman Joe Henderson, who contributed one of his own signature tunes, “The Kicker.” Along with the strong quintet work, the album includes a fine trio feature for the pianist in “Lonely Woman.” –Fred Goodman
Horace Silver was one of those postwar jazzmen who belied the idea that you had to blast off into nether-netherland to make jazz. But he also put the lie to the idea that making your music accessible was equal to making it somewhere between limp and listless. Not for nothing did Silver and his fellow hard boppers from the mid-1950s (Art Blakey in particular) make a conscious effort to yank the roots back into the music; these men knew what they were doing and damn near prevented jazz from getting too hip for its own britches, most likely because they seem to have made a fetish out of keeping it swinging.
Still, “Song For My Father” is a set for anyone’s music library, even one who isn’t disposed ordinarily to jazz. The critic who says the thousand and one subsequent bad rock albums trying to get hipped to the jazz that were inspired by this album and especially its warm title cut has an excellent point, but “Song For My Father” would stand out as Silver’s unquestioned (almost; it’s really hard to put “Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers” in the back seat, after all) masterpiece even if no one had decided to rip off the title track’s insinuating bass line or otherwise wring its clever leavening of Brazilian rhythm with harder Carribbean percussive. The group sounds so warm and probing yet so bloody danceable throughout that, when you’re finished with it, you may have a hard time getting the people sharing it with you to stop dancing. No one wastes a note or a percussive; no one sees a space as an abomination; no one trips over another; and, there is a remarkable sympatico between the musicians that few enough ensembles achieve, never mind make into an art.

The album is, of course, far more than its luminous title track; the Silver group rollicks through a breezy set showing their usual meld of gospel and blues to the pure bop, playing steadily and not shrinking when lyricism pours through. Horace Silver was probably the most underrated jazz leader of his time. Here’s the proof.
One of Blue Note’s greatest mainstream hard bop dates, Song for My Father is Horace Silver’s signature LP and the peak of a discography already studded with classics. Silver was always a master at balancing jumping rhythms with complex harmonies for a unique blend of earthiness and sophistication, and Song for My Father has perhaps the most sophisticated air of all his albums. Part of the reason is the faintly exotic tint that comes from Silver’s flowering fascination with rhythms and modes from overseas — the bossa nova beat of the classic “Song for My Father,” for example, or the Eastern-flavored theme of “Calcutta Cutie,” or the tropical-sounding rhythms of “Que Pasa?” Subtle touches like these alter Silver’s core sound just enough to bring out its hidden class, which is why the album has become such a favorite source of upscale ambience. Song for My Father was actually far less focused in its origins than the typical Silver project; it dates from the period when Silver was disbanding his classic quintet and assembling a new group, and it features performances from both bands (and, on the CD reissue with bonus tracks, three different sessions). Still, it hangs together remarkably well, and Silver’s writing is at its tightest and catchiest. The title cut became Silver’s best-known composition, partly because it provided the musical basis for jazz-rock group Steely Dan’s biggest pop hit “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Another hard bop standard is introduced here in the lone non-Silver tune, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson’s “The Kicker,” covered often for the challenge of its stuttering phrases and intricate rhythms. Yet somehow it comes off as warm and inviting as the rest of the album, which is necessary for all jazz collections  mainstream hard bop rarely comes as good as Song for My Father.
By Steve Huey, All Music Guide.
Bass- Gene Taylor , Teddy Smith
Drums- Roger Humphries , Roy Brooks
Piano- Horace Silver
Tenor Sax- Joe Henderson , Junior Cook
Trumpet- Blue Mitchell (tracks: 3, 6 to 10) , Carmell Jones
Written-By- Horace Silver (tracks: 1 to 4, 6, 8 to 10) , Joe Henderson (tracks: 5) , Musa Kaleem (tracks: 7)
01. Song For My Father  7:14
02. The Natives Are Restless Tonight  6:07
03. Calcutta Cutie  8:26
04. Que Pasa?  7:44
05. The Kicker  5:23
06. Lonely Woman  7:00
07. Sanctimonious Sam  3:51
08. Que Pasa? (Trio Version)  5:34
09. Sighin’ And Cryin’  5:22
10. Silver Treads Among My Soul  3:51

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