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The Messengers: Blue Note RVGs, Part 3 of 3

C. Andrew Hovan By

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

As Blue Note continues to mine its classic catalog, handing over the masters to engineer Rudy Van Gelder, certain key artists have seen a large amount of their oeuvre getting the RVG re-mastering treatment. In this, the final installment of three parts looking at the most recent set of reissues from the series, we examine discs by two of Blue Note's most important artists: Horace Silver and Art Blakey.

Art Blakey
Mosaic
Blue Note Records
2006

Several generations of jazz artists cut their teeth under the leadership of drummer Art Blakey, ultimately going on to productive careers of their own. While Blakey was seldom far from a microphone and recording studio, and made countless sessions for a number of labels over the years, he will always be best remembered for a catalog of Blue Note releases that documented some of his finest bands. In the early '60s, Blakey fronted a sextet with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and trombonist Curtis Fuller, heard at length on Mosaic.

Not only does the record boast some undeniably talented soloists, it also contains some of the best writing to come from this unit, namely Cedar Walton's "Mosaic, Freddie Hubbard's "Crisis and Wayne Shorter's "Children Of The Night. On a purely technical note, it seems that Van Gelder has successfully managed to fix the shift in channels during the drum solo on "Mosaic that can be heard on previous CD versions.

Horace Silver
Horace-Scope
Blue Note Records
2006

For the record books, Horace Silver has the distinction of being the artist who remained under contract with Blue Note for the longest period of time. From those early classics like "The Preacher to later projects that found him adding vocals and various instruments to his ensembles, Silver always retained an identifiable sound steeped in the tradition. The pianist would lead one of his most beloved quintets in the early '60s, featuring Blue Mitchell, saxophonist Junior Cook, bassist Gene Taylor and drummer Roy Brooks. Among the group's high points would have to be Horace-Scope, a set of seven tunes that includes such unforgettable gems as "Nica's Dream and "Strollin.' Varied and immensely satisfying, hard bop doesn't get much better than this.

Horace Silver
Silver's Serenade
Blue Note Records
2006

Prior to the break up of the Mitchell/Cook quintet, the group recorded not so much a bang as a whisper. Silver's Serenade (Blue Note 37745) exhibited signs that this particular line-up had pretty much said all that they had to say, but still had a few inspired moments left in them. The title track remains one of Silver's most attractive pieces outside of the funk bag, while "The Dragon Lady and "Let's Get To The Nitty Gritty are signature groove numbers that bring out the best in everyone. Maybe not the best Silver record of the lot, but one that's still very much worthwhile.


Tracks and Personnel

Mosaic

Tracks: Mosiac; Down Under; Children of the Night; Arabia; Crisis.

Personnel: Art Blakey: drums; Freddie Hubbard: trumpet; Curtis Fuller: trombone; Wayne Shorter: tenor sax; Cedar Walton: piano; Jymie Merritt: bass.

Horace-Scope

Tracks: Strollin'; Where You At?; Without You; Horace-scope; Yeah!; Me and My Baby; Nica's Dream.

Personnel: Horace Silver: piano; Blue Mitchell: trumpet; Junior Cook: tenor sax; Gene Taylor: bass; Roy Brooks: drums.

Silver's Serenade

Tracks: Silver's Serenade; Let's Get to the Nitty Gritty; Sweet Sweetie Dee; The Dragon Lady; Nineteen Bars.

Personnel: Horace Silver: piano; Blue Mitchell: trumpet; Junior Cook: tenor sax; Gene Taylor: bass; Roy Brooks: drums.

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