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The Best of Horace Silver

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Album Review

Taking in Horace Silver's fertile '50s stretch (volume two covers the '60s), this Blue Note best-of disc is the perfect introductory set for listeners new to the hard bop giant. One of the first of the soul-jazz innovators (listen to that gospel-fired left hand and all that dancefloor-friendly material), Silver also wrote some of the most original cuts of the period and — like Art Blakey — provided a home for many of the best young players of the era. In fact, Silver headed up the first incarnation of the Jazz Messengers with Blakey, some of the fruits of which are heard here ("Preachin'," "Doodlin'," "Room 608"). Moving on to such classic LPs as Six Pieces of Silver ("Cool Eyes," "Senor Blues") and Blowin' the Blues Away ("Peace," "Sister Sadie"), Silver delivers some of the most sophisticated modern swing around with help from the likes of Hank Mobley, Junior Cook, Donald Byrd, Blue Mitchell, Doug Watkins, and Louis Hayes. A jazz primer with plenty of memorable tunes to boot.


Born: September 2, 1928 in Norwalk, CT

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

From the perspective of the 21st century, it is clear that few jazz musicians had a greater impact on the contemporary mainstream than Horace Silver. The hard bop style that Silver pioneered in the '50s is now dominant, played not only by holdovers from an earlier generation, but also by fuzzy-cheeked musicians who had yet to be born when the music fell out of critical favor in the '60s and '70s. Silver's earliest musical influence was the Cape Verdean folk music he heard from his Portuguese-born...
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