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Horace Silver: Paris Blues: Olympia Theater, Paris, 1962

C. Michael Bailey By

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This is the classic Horace Silver Quintet. It existed and recorded here while Miles was between his two great quintets, just before Art Blakey recorded Caravan with Curtis Fuller and Wayne Shorter, and while John Coltrane was assembling his classic quartet. This concert takes place almost half way between Finger Poppin' With the Horace Silver Quintet and Song for My Father. In essence, this is hard bop reaching perfection, neither al dente nor over-cooked. All of the songs are lengthy Silver compositions.

With all cuts clocking in over ten minutes ("Sayonara Blues" stretches out to sixteen minutes), all of the musicians have ample time to say what must be said. Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook are in top form, blowing their potent mixture of smoky blues and pungent funk. Tart as a lemon and strong as a Manhattan, Mitchell proves himself more than a minor prophet in the scripture of hard bop. The same can be said of Cook, whose full-throated tone melds perfectly with Silver and Mitchell on this fall night in the City of Lights. Silver is brilliant in his leadership and performance, as is his rhythm support in Gene Taylor and Roy Brooks.

When previously asked to define hard bop, I would have steered the query toward Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' Moanin'. Now I will suggest Paris Blues.

Track Listing: Introduction; Where You At; The Tokyo Blues; Filthy McNasty; Sayonara Blues; Doin' The Thing.

Personnel: Horace Silver: Piano; Blue Mitchell: Trumpet; Junior Cook: Tenor Saxophone; Gene Taylor: Bass; Roy Brooks: Drums.

Title: Paris Blues: Olympia Theater, Paris, 1962 | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz


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