Horace Silver: Silver's Blue (2005)
Recorded in July of 1956, Silver's Blue expresses the true meaning of the blues. Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, and Joe Gordon "sing out" with a spirit true to the form as pianist Horace Silver sculpts Jazz Messenger empathy from his quintets.
Half of the session comes from the leader's composing pen, "Hank's Tune" comes from Mobley's pen, and the others are standards. Silver's piano weaves the tradition of jazz through each selection with care. As a blues-based program, the mood is leisurely and slow. Unlike many of the hot, forward-marching romps of the Jazz Messengers, this one soothes with a cool burning. It's intimate and laid back.
"Shoutin' Out," "Hank's Tune," and "To Beat or Not to Beat" carry the most rompin' and stompin' energy of the session. Silver pushes the band with percussive piano prodding, and he encourages his drummers to do the same. Together, they provide a well-balanced program that captures the meaning of the blues. Doug Watkins' sultry bass solo on the opening number and the cool, Latin tinge of the closing number represent Silver's dedication to lyrical sunshine. It comes from the heart.
Leonard Feather's original liner notes are included with this remastered reissue, as is an updated reminiscence by Horace Silver. As a composer who oftentimes wakes up from a sound sleep, goes to the piano, plays something that came to him during the night, harmonizes it, puts a bridge to it, and tape-records it, Silver represents the heart and soul of good music. He has said that like classical music, you get more out of jazz if you study it. He's a living example of true dedication to the art.
Track Listing: Silver's Blue; To Beat or Not to Beat; How Long Has This Been Going On?; I'll Know; Shoutin' Out; Hank's Tune; The Night Has a Thousand Eyes.
Personnel: Horace Silver: piano; Doug Watkins: bass; Kenny Clarke, Art Taylor: drums; Joe Gordon, Donald Byrd: trumpet; Hank Mobley: tenor saxophone.