The Horace Silver Quintet – Song for My Father (Cantiga Para Meu Pai) [TrackList follows] – Blue Note stereo vinyl 75th Anniversary reissue ST-84185 *****:
(Tracks 1 & 2 both sides: Carmell Jones, trumpet/ Joe Henderson, tenor sax/ Horace Silver, piano/ Teddy Smith, bass/ Roger Humphries, drums)
(Track 3 both sides: Blue Mitchell, trumpet/ Junior Cook, tenor sax/Horace Silver, piano/ Gene Taylor, bass/ Roy Brooks, drums)
This 1964 gem was one of Horace Silver’s masterpieces, and probably one of the most beautiful jazz albums one could own. Now the Rudy Van Gelder original tapes have been remastered by Blue Note as part of the 75 Anniversary, and the album is much like it was in 1964, only better. Because of the reduced recording time it does lack the additional four tracks found on CD versions: another version of “Qua Pasa” and three other alternate takes. Even the original program notes by Leonard feather are printed on the back of the album and on its cover is the famous photo of Silver’s father.
This is the best of high-quality jazz that still has plenty of popular appeal. In fact, it crossed over to the pop charts in 1965. The session was split up, but listening to it one would never know the difference. Four of the six tracks are with Silver’s classic quintet and the other two closing tracks on each side come from Carmell Jones on trumpet, Joe Henderson on sax, and a different rhythm section. The title track is of course Silver’s most famous composition, and even though we was rather underrated as a jazz performer, it has stood out as a flawless gem. Only one of the six tracks is not by Silver, it is Joe Henderson’s very uptempo “The Kicker,” which really does kick. Silver visited Brazil and was one of the many American jazzmen impressed with bossa nova there. His tune “Que Pasa” incorporates the real bossa nova feeling into American jazz. “Lonely Woman” is not either the one by Benny Carter or the one by Ornette Coleman, but Silver’s own composition written years before he knew there were others with that title.
Sonics are terrific, with Silver’s piano dead center and the horns spread out to the sides. I didn’t have the CD to compare, but the vinyl had the warmth and in-person reality that so many CDs lack. Silver felt that making the music accessible didn’t have to make it limp and listless. He refused to soar into the high atmosphere to make good jazz and kept it tuneful and always swinging. Even classical collectors with only a few jazz albums should have this one in their collection.
TrackList: Song for my Father, The Natives Are Restless Tonight, Calcutta Cutie, Que Pasa, The Kicker, Lonely Woman