5 Blue Note classics from pianist Horace Silver – all packaged together here in cool LP-styled sleeves! First up is Doin The Thing – one of the few live recordings ever done by Horace Silver during his Blue Note years – a real surprise, considering what
a crowd pleaser he was at the time! The set catches Horace working with that great quintet that graced most of his best early Blue Notes – with Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Junior Cook on tenor, Gene Taylor on bass, and the always-amazing Roy Brooks on drums. The groove is tight tight tight, and the live set crackles with the same sort of energy as the live sessions by the Jazz Messengers on Blue Note – rolling soul
jazz, but with a bit of a lyrical touch to flesh things out. Because of the live setting, tracks are a bit longer than the usual Silver session – which makes for freer soloing, and a bit of a rougher edge that keeps things lively throughout. Titles include "The Gringo", "Filthy McNasty", and "Doin' The Thing". Cape Verdean Blues is a classic set from Horace Silver – one in which his quintet is expanded by some great guest work from trombonist JJ Johnson! Johnson's at the height of his 60s powers here – blowing with that lean, soul
ful style that always made any record sparkle – and although he's only on half of the tracks on the date, his presence is more than worth the heavy billing he gets on the cover! Other great members of the group include Woody Shaw on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor, and rhythm from Bob Cranshaw on bass and Roger Humphries on drums – all coming together with that wonderful 60s Silver groove. The set's filled with sweetly grooving originals by Horace – a blueprint for the exotic style of soul
jazz he helped to forge at the time – great writing all around, on titles that include "Mo Joe", "Nutville", "Bonita", "The African Queen", and "Pretty Eyes". Tokyo Blues is one of Horace Silver's greatest records ever – and the album that always makes us remember how many of his tunes are now etched in the memory of modern jazz! The album's got a slightly exotic bent that you might guess from the title – a furthering of the sound that Silver first started on his own after breaking with Art Blakey – a hint of more cosmic modes to come in soul
jazz, yet still served up here with more of the punch you might expect from 60s Blue Note. The group is great – with Blue Mitchell on trumpet and Junior Cook on tenor – both super-tight at the start of the tunes, then breaking off into deeply personal territory on their solos. Rhythm is from Gene Taylor on bass and John Harris on drums – the latter a lesser-known compatriot of Silver, but one with a nicely loose sensibility that really adds a lot to the record. The writing is great – and titles include "Sayanara Blues", "Tokyo Blues", "Ah So", "Cherry Blossom", and "Too Much Sake". Silver's Serenade is a bit less well-known than some of the real Horace Silver classics on Blue Note – but an incredible record that shows the Silver Quintet at all its lyrical best! The record is a masterpiece of original voicings from Horace – not just in the unique tunes he penned for the set, but also in the strong direction he gives the group – a well-knit lineup that includes Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Junior Cook on tenor, Gene Taylor on bass, and Roy Brooks on drums – all coming together with some of the most fluid, most intuitive energy of any combo of the time! The melodic themes are structured loosely, so that Mitchell, Cook, and Silver can extrapolate on beautifully-spun solos – and titles include "Sweet Sweetie Dee", "Nineteen Bars", "The Dragon Lady", "Silver's Serenade", and "Let's Get To The Nitty Gritty". Further Explorations is a a set of complicated tunes that really lives up to its "further explorations" title! The session's a perfect example of the way that Silver was mixing hard bop sensibilities with more exotic styles of arranging in the late 50s – pushing past the straighter bop of his Jazz Messengers years, and moving into a territory that can only be described as "Silver-esque", and which went onto have a strong impact on many other players in years to come. And although not as well known as some of Silver's other classics from the time, the album's got some key tracks that show his talents at their best – like the genius "Moon Rays", or other originals that include "The Outlaw", "Melancholy Mood", "Pyramid", and "Safari". The group, which features Clifford Jordan on tenor and Art Farmer on trumpet, has an emotional maturity that you don't always get on Blue Note sessions from these days – and the album is a hauntingly lyrical batch of tracks that is among some of Silver's finest recorded work!