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Horace Silver - Horace-Scope - Blue Note/Classic Records


Blue Note/Classic Records

Blue Mitchell (trumpet) Junior Cook (tenor saxophone) Horace Silver (piano) Gene Taylor (bass) Roy Brooks (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, July 8 – 9, 1960.

The solid Silver Quintet, with Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook. Jazz critic Marc Myers names “Horace-scope” as his personal favourite, and offers some insight into the background of the recording date: “Horace-Scope didn’t come easy. The date was recorded over two days … and all of the tracks required double-digit takes. And no wonder. The melodies and executions are so tightly choreographed that it’s remarkable that perfection was achieved on any of the takes. For instance, upward of 34 takes were required for Yeah and 38 attempts for Me and My Baby.”

My personal selection, Nica’s Dream, is take 23. A pretty straightforward blowing session in comparison, then. Good that Alfred Lion funded rehearsal time. For the record, the take count for Horace-scope.

tk.10 Where You At tk.14 Strollin’ tk.22 Without You tk.23 Nica’s Dream tk.31 Horace-Scope tk.34 Yeah! tk.38 Me And My Baby

This LJC Horace retrospective has reminded me that Silver was not so much a pianist as a music aggregator, as in the finishing- school manner of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. You don’t play an Art Blakey album just to listen to some drumming, nor a Horace to listen to some piano playing, though you get both. Silver scores for a quintet and you get the musical aggregate. Sometimes it is Art Farmer, Blue Mitchell, Carmel Jones or Woody Shaw on trumpet; Hank Mobley, Junior Cook or Joe Henderson on tenor. Each brings their own distinctive contribution to the musical picnic, the common theme being Silver’s compositions on which to spread out.

Though Horace has gone, his music is alive and well, and any day is a good day for a picnic. It goes down well anywhere with a glass of chilled Prosecco, and without having to worry about the hype of what’s new! and latest! It is timeless, so can be played at any time.-London Jazz Collector

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