Archive for the Horace SILVER Category

Horace SILVER – Rockin’ With Rachmaninoff 1991

Posted in Horace SILVER, JAZZ on December 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Horace SILVER – Rockin’ With Rachmaninoff 1991


Rockin’ with Rachmaninoff is an album by jazz pianist Horace Silver, recorded in 1991 and finally released on the Bop City label in 2003, featuring performances by Silver with Michael Mossman, Bob Summers, Ricky Woodard, Ralph Bowen, Doug Webb, Andy Martin, Bob McChesney, Bob Maize, and Carl Burnett, with vocals by Andy Bey. The Allmusic review by Ken Dryden awarded the album 4 stars and states “Horace Silver’s Rockin’ With Rachmaninoff was originally conceived as a stage musical, complete with singers, dancers, musicians, and a narrator to tell the story of the composer’s idea of Duke Ellington introducing Sergei Rachmaninoff to all the jazz greats in heaven… If this CD is any indication as to the quality of Horace Silver’s short-lived musical, it must have been one hell of a show”.
Inspired by a dream and conceived as a stage musical that ran for three nights in Hollywood in 1991, the jazz suite Rockin’ with Rachmaninoff has finally reached listeners in CD form. For various reasons, piano great Horace Silver kept these twelve tracks on the shelf for over a decade. They find “the hard bop grandpop” in excellent form, backed by a strong cast of players: Michael Mossman on trumpet, Rickey Woodard, Ralph Bowen and Doug Webb on tenors, Andy Martin and Bob McChesney on trombones, Bob Maize on bass and Carl Burnett on drums. Andy Bey, a longtime Silver band member, appears on four cuts in strong voice (this was several years prior to his much-vaunted comeback). Vocalist Dawn Burnett delivers the seductive melody of “Satchmo’s Song,” tears it up on the brisk gospel number “Sunday Mornin’ Prayer Meetin’,” and duets with Bey on the closing title track. The lyrics to these pieces are less than stellar; perhaps they lose something in the transition from stage to studio.
The best thing about this release is that it brought Horace Silver to New York last month for a week at the Blue Note. Pianistically, the 75-year-old leader may have lost a little steam since 1991, but he wrung the very best out of tenors Eric Alexander and Ray McMorrin, trombonists Conrad Herwig and Steve Davis, bassist John Webber, drummer Joe Farnsworth and trumpeter Mossman, the only holdover from the studio session. Silver’s aesthetic remains distinctive and evergreen, and it was well served by these powerful, elegant five horn arrangements and this driving, old school New York rhythm section.

Beautifully recorded, the album sheds light on all sides of Silver’s writing personality, from the lilting waltz of “Satchmo’s Song” (as memorable a tune as he’s ever written), to the intervallic nuances of “A Ballad for Hawk,” to the easygoing grooves of “Rocky’s Overture” and “Monkeyin’ Around with Monk,” to the classic Silverian minor-key grooves of “Rocky Meets the Duke” and “Hallelujah To Ya.”
By David Adler. AAJ.
Horace Silver’s Rockin’ With Rachmaninoff was originally conceived as a stage musical,
complete with singers, dancers, musicians, and a narrator to tell the story of the
composer’s idea of Duke Ellington introducing Sergei Rachmaninoff to all the jazz greats in
heaven. Though it was only performed a few times during a short run in 1989 at the
Barnesdale Theatre in Hollywood, Silver had the foresight to record selections from it two
years later, though it would be a dozen additional years before this music became available
commercially, released by Bop City. “Rocky’s Overture” is a solid opener, featuring the
leader and trombonist Andy Martin, while “Rocky Meets the Duke” is a blend of Silver’s
readily identifiable style of hard bop with the swinging feeling of Ellington. “Satchmo’s Song”
is a warm waltz sung with gusto by Dawn Burnett, followed by a spirited Michael Mossman
trumpet solo. Andy Bey, a favorite of numerous musicians, is featured in several selections,
but pays a warm tribute to tenor sax great Coleman Hawkins in “A Ballad for Hawk.”
Although it is an instrumental, there’s no missing the spiritual influence in the driving
“Hallelujah to Ya,” which has brilliant solos by tenor saxophonist Rickey Woodard and
Mossman, as well as the composer. If this CD is any indication as to the quality of
Horace Silver’s short-lived musical, it must have been one hell of a show;
too bad it wasn’t videotaped.
By Ken Dryden. AMG.
Horace Silver- Piano
Doug Webb- Tenor Sax
Bob Summers- Trumpet
Andy Martin- Trombone
Bob McChesney- Trombone
Bob Maize- Bass
Carl Burnett- Drums
Andy Bey- Vocals (1,5,6,9,11)
Rickey Woodard- Tenor Sax (2,6-8,11)
Michael Mossman-) Trumpet (3,4,8
Dawn Burnett- Vocals (3,7,11)
Ralph Bowen- Tenor Sax (6,11)
01. Rocky’s Overture 5:39
02. Rocky Meets the Duke 6:09
03. Satchmo’s Song 7:16
04. Monkeyin’ Around With Monk 5:42
05. Ballad for Hawk 5:51
06. Skunky Funky Blues 6:51
07. Sunday Mornin’ Prayer Meetin’ 5:03
08. Hallelujah to Ya 5:11
09. Righteous Rumba 6:23
10. Lavender Love 5:29
11. Rockin’ With Rachmaninoff 4:31

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Horace SILVER – In Pursuit of the 27th Man 1972

Posted in Horace SILVER, JAZZ on December 3, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Horace SILVER – In Pursuit of the 27th Man 1972


Here’s a rare item in Horace Silver’s discography as a leader: a session with vibraphonist David Friedman and no horns. (Flutist Hubert Laws was originally slated to have been involved as well, but was prevented from doing so by his record company.) “In Pursuit of the 27th Man” was one of four pieces recorded by this quartet. The album was completed with three other selections by Silver, Bob Cranshaw, Mickey Roker, and two then-rising young players, trumpeter Randy Brecker and his younger brother, tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker.

This tune finds Silver in a modal mood—C Phrygian, to be precise. It also shows him as a more interactive accompanist than has usually been the case. This is especially true during the last half of the track. (Typically, Silver—to quote critic Martin Williams— “bounces, barks and chops” behind soloists, to generally positive effect.)
By Bill Kirchner.
In Pursuit of the 27th Man may not be the best CD Horace Silver has ever made but it is one of the most intriguing. Recorded in 1972–a time when undiluted jazz was considered commercial anathema–it found Silver cleverly adapting some of the latest fusion devices while remaining true to his soulful and quirkily melodic style. That the mixture was successful both aesthetically and in terms of sales was all the more remarkable for it being, in effect, two separate projects. Three tracks feature the Brecker brothers, Randy and Michael, in some typically forthright (though newly tinged) Silver originals; the other four team him with vibist David Friedman, once a classical percussionist. Of the former, “Liberated Brother” is especially invigorating, while amongst the latter “Kathy” and “Summer in Central Park” are quite delightful, the last-named operating partly as homage to John Lewis’s celebrated “Skating in Central Park”. Throughout drummer Mickey Roker and Bob Cranshaw on electric bass provide immaculate and always apposite support. Unlike a lot of “real” fusion, this album has not dated one bit, and its still-fresh and cogent music is thoroughly recommended.
By Richard Palmer.
This obscure Horace Silver LP features two separate sessions by the pianist/composer. On three selections he is joined by trumpeter Randy Brecker, tenor great Michael Brecker, Bob Cranshaw on electric bass and drummer Mickey Roker. The other four numbers feature vibraphonist David Friedman in a quartet with Silver, Cranshaw and Roker, a very unusual sound for a Horace Silver set. But no matter what the instrumentation, the style is pure Silver, hard-driving and melodic hard bop with a strong dose of funky soul.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
This recording definitely has a bit of “showbiz” sheen to it, but, as other people has said, it also has a dark day and mysterious depth to it that makes for an interesting tension. The soloing and ensemble work is immaculate throughout and I have always found it exceptionally accessible to the ear. It grabs you and doesn’t let go. “Gregory is Here” should be singled out for its straight ahead and insistent joy (a quality of much of Horace’s music!). The quiet tunes have a very special reflective feeling to them, almost trance like, much of course owing to the great vibes work. A wonderful record for musicians to learn from and for anyone to enjoy!
By Kenneth Seidman.
Bass [Electric]- Bob Cranshaw )
Drums- Mickey Roker
Piano- Horace Silver
Producer- George Butler
Saxophone [Tenor]- Michael Brecker (tracks: A1, A3, B2)
Trumpet, Flugelhorn- Randy Brecker (tracks: A1, A3, B2)
Vibraphone- David Friedman (tracks: A2, B1, B2, B3)
Composed By- Horace Silver (tracks: A3, A4, A4 B3) , Livingston, Evans (tracks: A2) , Santos (tracks: A2) , Weldon Irvine (tracks: A1)
A1. Liberated Brother  5:20
A2. Kathy  4:15
A3. Gregory Is Here  6:18
A4. Summer In Central Park  4:38
B1. Nothin’ Can Stop Me Now  5:13
B2. In Pursuit Of The 27th Man  9:42
B3. Strange Vibes  5:02

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Horace SILVER Quintet – Song For My Father 1964

Posted in Horace SILVER, JAZZ on December 2, 2010 by whoisthemonk

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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