Pianist Horace Silver always had the knack for writing funky tunes that got soloists' juices flowing, and made rhythm sections snap to attention. In the late '50s, he assembled one of his greatest quintets, with Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Junior Cook on tenor sax, bassist Gene Taylor and drummer Louis Hayes. When jazz fans imagine the virtues of Blue Note records, this is the sound in their heads: upbeat, bluesy and tight like "Sister Sadie," plaintive like "Peace." Mitchell's phrasing is incisive and assured — he's a diehard swinger; Cook's fast tumbling figures in his "Break City" solo initiate a dialogue of rhythms with Silver's jabbing punctuations. Conspicuous bonus: on two tracks Silver returns to the trio setting that made him a Blue Note star. On the earthy, intensely bluesy "St. Vitus Dance," his left hand's grunting interjections and cluster bombs link early jazz expressionist Jelly Roll Morton to slam bam Cecil Taylor. Silver's an underrated titan of jazz piano.
By Andrew Parks on 06.19.14 in News
Blue Note has confirmed the death of Horace Silver, the jazz pianist, composer and bandleader best known for hard bop standards like "Filthy McNasty," "Sister Sadie" and "The Preacher." Silver's popular "Song For My Fath...
By Kevin Whitehead on 05.16.11 in User's Guide Hubs
Ask a fan to name a label that typifies jazz, they'll likely reply with two words. Blue Note set the standard for jazz recording by the 1950s, with a stunning run of hard bop classics: bebop's virtuosity tempered with go...
By Ron Hart on 02.02.15 in Features
Celebrating Blue Note's 75th anniversary by examining its relationship with hip-hop
By Seth Colter Walls on 09.16.14 in Reviews
When it comes to sales and media attention, count on Lady Gaga's collaboration with Tony Bennett to win the race of albums of vintage American tunes out this month. And yet it's this particular evocation (and occasional...