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Cape Verdean Blues by Horace Silver Quintet

The Blue Note roster of artists in the mid-1960s was untouchable. Horace Silver was at the front of the pack and as this exquisite package more than adequately displays, the pianist was incapable of doing wrong in his prime. This 1965 tribute to his father’s Portuguese homeland mixed in with Brazilian samba and "good old American funky blues," as he wrote in the original liners, benefits from the front line of trumpeter Woody Shaw and tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, with J.J. Johnson on the final three of the six song set, along with the solid rhythm team of bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Rex Humprhies. Following the quick paced titled piece, "African Queen" finds the pianist and his mates assaying a blues that brings out the best in each of the players on board. Cranshaw and Silver play a motif behind a fiery and inventive Henderson, propelled by Humprhries’ very wooden traps and percussion. Shaw’s solo here points to his genius for improvisatory lines, as well. The meshing of all of these elements makes for one of the classic Horace Silver compositions and performances. The composer’s solo is equally compelling, and as Leonard Feather wrote in his original liner notes, it points to a more adventurous direction than Horace Silver had previous explored. Much of the excitement can be attributed to Humphries who later worked his magic with the Ray Charles band. His was a metronomic style that utilized the whole kit. That Woody Shaw had come to Silver from Eric Dolphy may have added a bit to the spirit of adventure, as well. "Pretty Eyes" is a tune that reminds of Silver’s old employer Art Blakey. Johnson’s trombone is added on the slightly dissonant Nutville," on which the players work a frisky pace that challenges and delights the ear as much as it must have the players in its performance. "Bonita," reminding of the "Song For My Father" sessions, shades the three horn front line beautifully. Silver’s solo is especially nice, though Henderson, Johnson and Shaw turn in equally fine solos in that order, as well. The closing "Mo’ Joe, composed by Joe Henderson (all the others are Silver tunes), is a swinging affair on which each solo is more dazzling than the one before it. As good as Horace Silver ever sounded, this one is a pure delight.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Horace Silver Quintet
  • CD Title: Cape Verdean Blues
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Reissue Original Release: 1965
  • Record Label: Blue Note
  • Tracks: The Cape Verdean Blues, The African Queen Pretty Eyes, Nutville, Bonita, Mo Joe.'
  • Musicians: Horace Silver: piano, Woody Shaw: trumpet, J.J. Johnson: trombone (4-6), Joe Henderson: tenor sax, Bob Cranshaw: bass, Roger Humphries: drums.
  • Rating: Four Stars
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