273

Horace Silver: Live at Newport '58

J Hunter By

Sign in to view read count
Horace Silver: Live at Newport '58 The John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk Quartet earth-shaker At Carnegie Hall (Blue Note, 2005) set a pretty high watermark, and other historical recordings inevitably have a lot to live up to. Pianist Horace Silver's Live at Newport '58 is very good, and is certainly historically significant, but is it Carnegie Hall good? Perhaps not quite.



Silver had brought a new group to headline the Sunday afternoon session at the Newport Jazz Festival. That group would turn out to be four-fifths of the quintessential Horace Silver Quintet: trumpeter Blue Mitchell was two months away from joining the band when Silver counted off the opening number "Tippin.'" That cut is the second piece of history on Newport '58, since the up-tempo piece's previous claim to fame was its existence as an obscure B-side on a Blue Note 45.



Given the relative inexperience of his new group, you'd think Silver would choose more established material for a venue as exalted as Newport. Instead, Silver went with new material for the first half of the 47-minute set: "Tippin'" was followed by "The Outlaw," a cut off Silver's 1958 album Further Explorations by the Horace Silver Quintet. Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan held the front line on that date, but Silver's new players—tenor saxophonist Junior Cook, trumpeter Louis Smith, bassist Gene Taylor and drummer Louis Hayes—handle the material like they'd always owned it.



Silver gives his front line plenty of room to work, ceding the first two solos to them on every track. If you didn't know Mitchell was going to join up by the end of that year, you wouldn't even miss him; that's how well Smith does on this gig. His trumpet work is high, wide and handsome with an assertiveness that never wanes, even on a relatively down-tempo piece like "Señor Blues." Cook is just as purposeful, and the teamwork he and Smith demonstrate on the complex "The Outlaw" sounds like the product of a partnership that's existed for years, not days. Unfortunately, Cook didn't bring his "A" game with him, as his tenor falls flat on more than one occasion.



The rhythm section gets the worst of the recording, in that Hayes' crackling drums are way up front in the mix while Taylor's bass is nearly swamped; you don't really hear Taylor until the front line drops out and leaves Silver alone with the rhythm section. That said, these trio moments are the best parts of Newport '58 because the listener gets a real sense of Silver's elegant piano. Whether he's taking it to the max on "Cool Eyes" or keeping it subtle on "Señor," Silver's solos are wonderfully soulful while maintaining a laser-like precision that consistently amazes.



Excluding the sample of Newport emcee Willis Conover's trademark patter, there are only four tracks on this disc. Paris Blues (Pablo, 2002) gives you a more comprehensive look at the Silver Quintet in concert; it also has Mitchell in his rightful place on the front line. Still, Newport '58 is a glimpse of what was to come, and will be a point of interest for Horace Silver aficionados everywhere.


Track Listing: Introduction by Willis Conover; Tippin; The Outlaw; Seor Blues; Cool Eyes.

Personnel: Horace Silver: piano; Junior Cook: tenor saxophone; Louis Smith: trumpet; Gene Taylor: bass; Louis Hayes: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Kucheza" CD/LP/Track Review Kucheza
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "From Here to There" CD/LP/Track Review From Here to There
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "The Linda Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Linda Sessions
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2016
Read "House Of Waters" CD/LP/Track Review House Of Waters
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Triadic Episode" CD/LP/Track Review Triadic Episode
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!