"Horace is one of those guys, one of those bands that I always wanted to be in, in the fifties and the sixties. Gee, I envied the hell out of Junior Cook and those guys for the fact that they were able to be there."
Horace Silver has been directing his own combo for a little over two and a half years as of this writing. Meanwhile, there have been changes of personnel but not changes of direction. Among the most recent arrivals are Horace's two horn men, Junior Cook and Blue Mitchell.
Speaking of them just before he left on tour, Horace said: "Junior came as a great surprise to me when I first heard him. I met him when I was working a gig in Baltimore and went to Washington on my night off to hear Lou Donaldson working in a club there. Junior was at the Howard Theatre in Washington, playing in some rock 'n' roll show. He and I both sat in with Lou, and that was the first time I heard him play. Well, later on Cliff Jordan had to leave for California because of illness in his family, so I used Junior to fill in for a week.
"Junior worked for a while with a combo led by the girl bassist Gloria Bell. Then he joined Dizzy Gillespie and was with him for a few weeks, until Diz went overseas, and then I grabbed him, and he's been with us since then--almost a year now.
"Blue Mitchell, of course, I knew from way back, when we did a recording session for Blue Note, the date with Lou Donaldson when we made "Down Home" and "If I Love Again." He'd played around with a lot of rhythm-and-blues bands, but he always showed a lot of promise and was always a modern musician.
"Blue always plays like crazy in a club, but at first he had a lot of difficulty relaxing in a recording studio. He would get real tensed up in a studio, but he got better as we went along with the rehearsal, and by the time we made the first actual okay take he was in good shape. And before long we'd be well under way and we'd have forgotten we were recording.
"I first met Gene Taylor, the bass player, at Small's, where he sat in with us. I believe we have a rhythm section that really cooks now; Louis Hayes, I think, is playing better all the time, and he was remarkable even when he first came with us."
--LEONARD FEATHER, from the liner notes,
Finger Poppin', 1959, Blue Note.
Commenting on all the bands he has put together over the years, Horace Silver mentioned that the band with Junior Cook and Blue Mitchell was probably the most satisfying and successful in part because it was the longest-lived band. They were together for about seven years. When I asked him what he thought kept the band together for so long, he was quick to say, "We loved each other, we had everything in common musically . . . we loved playing together and we played well together."
"We blended well together. The thing about that band that I thought was so good, one reason why we lasted so long and stayed together so long and made some memorable records is that it was a very well-rounded band. You know, I had other bands where I had some really great musicians in the bands, but this particular grouping of guys--they were well-rounded in what they played, they could play funky, the blues, they could play hip, Latin, they could play ballads, they were well-rounded in their musical approach."
He admitted he had some great musicians who could play the bebop thing great, but weren't that great funky-wise. Or they could play funky, but couldn't play the bebop thing. With Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook "we could get through to the people because when we played funk and the blues we really got into it and made the people want to tap their feet and dance and then we could turn around and play a ballad or play something Latin, or play the bebop thing."
--SUSAN ROSMARIN, "The Hardbop Grandpop,"
Strictly Jazz, July 1996.
A selected discography of Horace Silver albums.
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|Horace Silver: Art of Small Combo Playing, BOOK||Horace Silver LPs on eBay|
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|Giants of Jazz Piano, BOOK||Horace Silver DVD / VHS on eBay|
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