Is it possible to love an album for just one song? I think I do. Serenade to a Soul Sister
is the happy marriage of jazz's funkiest pianist (Horace Silver
) with its most soulful saxman (Stanley Turrentine
). Throw in a fabulously underrated trumpeter with a big fat tone (Charles Tolliver
) and you've got one of the best soul-jazz classics of the 1960s. Serenade
features six original compositions by Silver, and every one is a gem. One, however, is shinier than the rest. The album's opener, "Psychedelic Sally," is one of the catchiest, most joyful jazz tunes ever recorded.
Start with a propulsive bass line, as every good funk tune should. Add a happy theme stated by the horns in tandem. Throw in a positively bluesy sax solo, then a powerful trumpet turn, and finally the ever-reliable Silver doing his best juke-joint piano solo. The result is a recording that is every bit as soulful and rockin' as anything ever put to vinyl in the late 1960s. This is a happy, up-tempo, rollicking seven-minute classic.
The rest of Serenade
is plenty gooda truly happy, upbeat recordjust not up to the standard of the opening cut.
The first three tunes, including "Psychedelic Sally," feature a quintet with Silver, Turrentine and Tolliver. These are bluesy, funky numbers. The last three tunes feature a different quintet, replacing Turrentine with Bennie Maupin
, plus a new bassman and drummer. It's a different feel. Maupin seems more boppish and less funky than Turrentinenot a bad thing, just different.
The result is an album that is very much of its timea mix of '60s funk and '50s bop. The whole thing ends with a piano trio ballad called "Next Time I Fall in Love." It's all very nice. But "Psychedelic Sally" is the tune you came for, and I don't mind listening to it over and over again.
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Availability: Easy to find
Cost: Under $4 used