Friday, June 20, 2014

Horace Silver, a gem of Blue Note Jazz from Senor Blues

Horace Silver, piano player, jazz composer, and creator of the hard bop school of jazz died on June 18 this week at the age of 85.

I'm not sure when and where I first heard a Horace Silver song, but I do know the first record of his I bought.  Sometime in my sophomore or junior year of high school, I happened across a remaindered compilation album entitled Blue Note Gems of Jazz. which included "Safari" by the Silver Quintet. Silver was also featured on a great version of "Bags Groove" by Milt Jackson.

Remainders, for the younger set, were overstocked albums that were sold at a discount with a corner cut off or a notch cut in a side.  So, I probably got it for $1.99 (or less) instead of $4.99. How this particular remainder got to Winfield or Wichita, Kansas is a mystery or miracle depending on your point of view.

And what a bargain.  Here are the selections:

Safari is a nice, well done tune, but it wasn't one of Silver's tunes that became a standard.  He wrote many that did.  Here's one: a live version of "Senor Blues"

Ray Charles did it for his "Genius+Soul=Jazz" album.

Bluesman Taj Mahal was one of many singers who have performed the tune. This live version features Wichita's Mike Finnegan on piano and organ.

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