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Horace Silver: A Prescription For The Blues

Douglas Payne By

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With A Prescription For The Blues, 69-year-old pianist Horace Silver proves he's writing and playing as well as — if not better than — he did over four decades ago. But mere stamina is no reason to appreciate this terrific remedy of first-rate bop-n-blues. The "hard bop grandpop" has assembled a classy all-star lineup, reuniting with Michael and Randy Brecker (their last time together was on Silver's 1972 album In Pursuit of the 27th Man ) and adding one-time associates Ron Carter on bass and Louis Hayes on drums.

This superb quintet, Silver's most ideal format, evidences truly outstanding playing from both Breckers (it's always great hearing how well these two play together). Silver, too, sounds like a cat half his age, offering meaty solos that combine clever lines finessed with jaunty blues chords. His music, which conveys instead of preaches his holistic values, is never less than memorable (easy-to-follow lyrics to each tune are printed on the disc's booklet, though no one actually sings here). It's all fairly indistinguishable from one of his mid-sixties Blue Note records (except for Michael Brecker's easily recognizable contemporary sound).

But highlights abound; choice cuts include the catchy "A Prescription For The Blues," the funky "You Gotta Shake That Thing," the bop-eration of "Doctor Jazz" and a strong trio reading of "Brother John and Brother Gene" (dedicated to Silver's two departed brothers). Truth is, there's not a dud to be found here. Best of all, A Prescription For The Blues reveals the unique timelessness of Horace Silver's music (the recently issued compilation Opus de Funk: The Jazz Giants Play Horace Silver (Prestige) is a terrific testament to how universal and well-loved Silver's music is too). Recommended.

Tracks: A Prescription for the Blues; Whenever Lester Plays The Blues; You Gotta Shake That Thing; Yodel Lady Blues; Brother John and Brother Gene; Free At Last; Walk On; Sunrise In Malibu; Doctor Jazz.

Musicians: Horace Silver: piano; Michael Brecker: tenor saxophone; Randy Brecker: trumpet; Ron Carter: bass; Louis Hayes: drums.

| Record Label: Impulse! | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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