Sunday, April 1, 2018

Horace Silver - 1987-06-30, St. Denis Theatre, Montreal, Quebec

From the CBC Radio archives...

Throughout most of the 50s and 60s, Horace Silver was on a hell of a streak. Just about all of his Blue Note records - and there's a lot of them - just about defined what hard bop was supposed to sound like. And they're just dripping with cool: Song for my Father mixes in Latin grooves, while Tokyo Blues opens with jutting horns. And througout, Silver's piano has more hooks than the average pop song. It's no wonder he hasn't just been sampled like a million times, but even been ripped off Steely Dan (see: "Rikki Don't Lose that Number").

Anyway, even if his commercial and artistic peak was a good two decades behind him by 1987, Silver and his band still could bring it when playing live. I've got something like a dozen bootlegs of him from all kinds of places, ranging from the late 60s to the late 80s, and the genius of his songs (and band arrangements, too) has each of them sounding as good as anything from his Blue Note records.

In fact, I'd argue this show from the Montreal Jazz Festival sounds not only as good as any of them, but at moments sounds even better. Think I'm kidding? The way him and his band blast into "Tokyo Blues" sounds like the opening theme to a forgotten 70s cop show, giving the music a harder edge than the laid-back original. Must've been a blast to see in person.

The rest of the show isn't a slouch, either.  Take "The God of Aruba." Through as a few extended solos, the band stretches out while remaining pretty accessible: solo, theme, a few more choruses, then the theme again and repeat. Compare this to, say, the stuff David Murray or Ronald Shannon Jackson were doing at about the same time, and you'll see what I mean. And, unlike Wynton, who at the same time was all about doing jazz as a museum piece, Silver's music remains playful and fun.


M. Milner said...

Silver '87:

J├╝rgen de Waal said...

Why don't you mention the settlist, the musicians with him ??????

M. Milner said...

No real reason, to be honest, although the lineup is rather quickly found with google:
Horace Silver - piano Vincent Herring - alto & tenor sax Dave Douglas - trumpet Brain Bromberg - acoustic bass Carl Burnett - drums