Jazz CD Reviews
The Horace Silver Songbook – Funky Pieces of Silver – The Composer Collection Vol. 1 – HighNote
Published on October 20, 2007
This is one of the most fun and swinging jazz compilations I have had the pleasure to listen to in some time. (See the nine tracks ID’d below.) Horace Silver is now 79 and had his first recording session – for Blue Note – 55 years ago. He’s known as the cofounder of the Jazz Messengers, for his own group – usually a quintet, for the talented players he always hired and warmhearted, optimistic good feeling of most of his original music. Both bebop and soul were strong elements in his music, and it seems to work really well in a setting involving that greasy/groovy Hammond, so six of these nine tunes do exactly that.
Joey DeFrancesco gets Silver’s best-known original, Song for my Father, and on it he’s joined by his father, John DeFrancesco. On The Preacher he dives into Silver’s gospel groove. Charles Earland, another B-3 master, gets three of the tracks. Among the standout horns are Eric Alexander, tenor (on all the Earland tracks), trumpeters Jim Rotondi and Russell Gunn, and Houston Person does one of his very juicy solos on Juicy Lucy. The guitar position in the various groups is handled by such as Paul Bollenback, Melvin Sparks, Randy Johnston and Bob DeVos. This is just the first in a proposed series of such Composer Collections on HighNote and augers well for the future volumes.
TrackList: Sister Sadie, Juicy Lucy, Blowing the Blues Away, The Preacher, African Queen, Song for My Father, Strollin’, The Outlaw, Quicksilver.
– John Henry