New York-based trombonist Conrad Herwig
began exploring the "Latin side" of various jazz musicians in 1996, with The Latin Side of John Coltrane,
which earned him the first of four Latin Grammy Award nominations. Since then, Herwig has done the same for Miles Davis
, Wayne Shorter
, Herbie Hancock
, Joe Henderson
and, now, pianist Horace Silver
. The formula is trim and solid; choose several of an artist's more notable compositions and recast them in a rhythmic Latin framework. For The Latin Side of Horace Silver,
recorded live in 2017 (the notes don't say exactly where), arrangements are in the capable hands of Herwig (three), pianist Bill O'Connell
(four) and Marc Stasio ("The Gods of the Yoruba").
This is basically an octet, which can sound larger or smaller than its size, depending on the context and the chart. (For examples of each, compare "Nica's Dream" or "Filthy McNasty" with "Peace" or "Silver's Serenade.") Herwig shares the front line with alto saxophonist Craig Handy
, tenor saxophonist Igor Butman
and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin
. O'Connell plays the keyboard on five tracks, guest Michel Camilo
on the other three, with Ruben Rodriguez
on bass, Robby Ameen
on drums and Richie Flores
on congas. The other selectionseach of which, beyond any doubt, is well known to Silver's many fansare "Song for My Father" and "Nutville," which wraps up the concert.
The album's generous seventy-nine-minute running time affords ample room to stretch, and there are engaging south-of-the-border solos along the way by everyone on the front line, as well as by O'Connell, Camilo and Flores who also adds considerable energy and weight to the Latin pulse. The easygoing "Silver's Serenade" offers nearly nine minutes of (relative) calm, with Handy on flute and Sipiagin on flugelhorn (as they are on "Peace"). Even here, however, the Latin temperament holds sway and the rhythm never flags. Herwig, who has long been a champion of Latin music and culture, takes great pleasure in sharing that passion with others, and The Latin Side of Horace Silver
looks to be a splendid candidate for a fifth Latin Grammy nomination.
Nica’s Dream; Song for My Father; The Gods of the Yoruba; Peace; The Cape Verdean Blues; Filthy
McNasty; Silver’s Serenade; Nutville.