Home » Jazz Articles » Reassessing » Horace Silver: Horace Silver: Song For My Father

149

Horace Silver: Horace Silver: Song For My Father

By

Sign in to view read count
Horace Silver
Song For My Father
Blue Note Records
1963

The nice thing about reissuing classic, fifty year-old records is the benefit of hindsight; delving into a well-established catalog that's been lauded for decades helps ensure that every release will be desirable. The classic Blue Note Records catalog of the 1950s and '60s is about as evergreen a collection of albums as could be imagined. There are so many great titles that it's difficult, if not impossible, to find a stinker in the lot.

In reissuing a true classic like Horace Silver's Song For My Father (1963), Music Matters' tacit goal is to bring something new to the record, but not by the typical inclusion of substandard, rejected bonus tracks, or with aborted takes and studio chatter. The label's goal is simply to make the best possible pressing of the album, using the original master tapes as the source, to capture every possible detail of the recording session. As usual, they've succeeded admirably.

Silver's band in those years had a rotating cast of musicians, many of whom would go on to be A-listers in their own right. Perhaps only Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers—a name given to Blakey by Silver—was a greater incubator of up- and-coming talent. Most of this album features a front line including the great Joe Henderson on tenor sax and a relatively obscure Carmell Jones on trumpet. Their attack on the melody of the title track, following Silver's opening piano bounce, is clear and blue. Silver takes the first solo turn with a mid-tempo groove, rich with resolving minor chords, before handing it off to Henderson, who was already leaning towards more adventurous statements in his playing.

The lone track not penned by Silver, Henderson's "The Kicker," is by far the most aggressive track on the record, with thunderous drumming from Pittsburgh's favorite son, Roger Humphries. And only "Calcutta Cutie" features an entirely different lineup, with trumpeter Blue Mitchell and the shamefully neglected tenor saxophonist Junior Cook.

Silver was known to be a perfectionist during recording sessions (one of the reasons he released so few live records), insisting on very high quality sound for his albums. On this date the piano—a perpetual Achilles heel of recordings engineered by Rudy Van Gelder—sounds better than usual, with at least some of the scale of the studio's Steinway D preserved intact. With such a high quality source, it shouldn't come as any surprise that the Music Matters' reissue provides details that would be hard to discern on lesser pressings.

Only two things hinder this release: first, these pressings are expensive; second, they are only issued on 45RPM vinyl, so a good old-fashioned turntable is a requirement. But for a serious lover of Horace Silver, this Music Matters reissue is likely the highest quality pressing that will ever be seen. Song For My Father is a masterpiece worthy of such high-minded treatment that rewards with great music and the ultimate in sound.

Track listing: Song For My Father; The Natives Are Restless; Calcutta Cutie; Que Pasa; The Kicker; Lonely Woman.

Personnel: Horace Silver: piano; Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone (1, 2, 4-6); Carmell Jones: trumpet (1, 2, 4-6); Teddy Smith: bass (1, 2, 4-6); Roger Humphries: drums (1, 2, 4-6); Blue Mitchell: trumpet (3); Junior Cook: tenor saxophone (3); Gene Taylor: bass (3); Roy Brooks: drums (3).

Comments


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

Being Human
Lynne Arriale
Big Band Stories
Fredrik Nordström
Skyllumina
Ruth Goller

Popular

Compassion
Vijay Iyer
Jazz Hands
Bob James
Esengo
London Afrobeat Collective

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.