Friday, March 12, 2010
Horace SILVER Quintet - Jazz Has a Sense of Humor 1999
Listening to any new release by Horace Silver is a lot like hearing your favourite comedian tell a joke for the umpteenth time — you know the punch line, but you laugh anyway! Since he left Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1956, Silver has written and produced a number of classic tunes that have become jazz standards. Over the years his famous quintets have always featured dynamite trumpet/tenor tandems — Blue Mitchell /Junior Cook, Woody Shaw/Joe Henderson and the Brecker Brothers—and this CD is no exception. Jazz Has A Sense Of Humor is highlighted by the strong solo work of Ryan Kisor (trumpet) and Jimmy Greene (tenor/soprano). These two "young lions" energize Silver's nine original compositions. Their enthusiasm seems to have spilled over to their leader who, after experiencing some health problems over the past few years, appears to be back in top form. The program, which contains such impishly titled offerings as I Love Annie's Fanny, exhibit all of Silver's trademark influences—R&B, soul and funky jazz. Silver's best album in years.
By John Sharpe.
As corporate takeover games morph the old Impulse! imprimatur into Verve, and the major's relentless publicity machines posture this as "Horace Silver's Verve debut!" we must avoid rampant sarcasm and see it as Horace suggests, remembering that jazz has a sense of humor. And who better to deliver that timeless message than the man who gave us such soulful silliness as "Psychedelic Sally," the saga of "Filthy McNasty" and "Dufus Rufus," taking us all the way to "Nutville," after we quaffed "Too Much Sake."
This time out he leaves us laughin' and swingin' courtesy of "The Mama Suite (Not Enough Mama, Too Much Mama, Just Right Mama). " Humor has always been part of the Horace Silver alchemy-"Philley Millie" indeed-generally delivered by a quintet, which in this case is the all-new and potent lineup of Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Jimmy Green on saxes, John Webber on bass, and drummer Willie Jones lll. Guaranteed, as always, to move the feet and bring a smile to the face.
By Willard Jenkins.
Don't let this disc's title or tunes with names like "I Love Annie's Fanny" mislead you into thinking the venerable Horace Silver has put out a novelty record. What we have here is some superb '60s-era soul-jazz composed and arranged by the originator of that genre. Horace, much like Art Blakey, has found some talented young jazzers and schooled them in his music. Trumpeter Ryan Kisor and saxophonist Jimmy Greene play with energy and skill, obviously influenced by the hard-boppers of Silver's generation. With its hip, storytelling heads and stabbing piano rhythms, this music would have sounded just right in 1959, but given Horace Silver's presence, it's not a mere retro-jazz album; rather, it's a continuation of Silver's musical vision, one that has always melded funky rhythms and the bop vernacular into a tasty, accessible whole.
By Wally Shoup.
This is something of a return to classic Horace Silver form. The tunes are crisp, the group sounds like a working band, and Silver's piano envelopes the whole - shaping, steering, mining those grooves he first discovered years ago. The two-horn front line is formulaic bop and post-bop, of course, but in Silver's hands, there is a coherence and order that is missing in the work of most who attempt these styles today. With Silver's groups, one always senses a big band reduced to its fundamentals, illuminated and sparked by the leader's structural riffs. That's what we hear on this CD, and though no new ground is broken, for many Silver fans, that is just fine. A nice range of materials is offered up, centered by "The Mama Suite," a mini-showcase for the band, with Latin and funk rhythms drawing sprightly solos out of trumpeter Ryan Kisor and saxophonist Jimmy Greene. "I Love Annie's Fanny" is the sort of slightly tart, angular piece that falls somewhere in the "Se"or Blues" range. And "Where Do I Go From Here?" is all Silver's piano - light, dancing, his patented touch at work. But as is often the case with Silver's records, there is something slightly odd here as well. The recording is intended to demonstrate that jazz can be funny by putting together a collection of humorous songs. But there are no vocals on the record! (Only Silver's lyrics provided in the liners.) Mind you, one shouldn't complain, for the true humor of Silver's music is in his compositions. And it's just that subtle brand of humor that his lyrics often obscure.
Horace Silver- Piano,
Ryan Kisor- Trumpet,
John Webber- Bass,
Jimmy Greene- Soprano,Tenor Sax
Willie Jones III- Drums
01. Satisfaction Guaranteed 5:48
02. Part I: Not Enough Mama 5:35
03. Part II: Too Much Mama 4:51
04. Part III: Just Right Mama 4:07
05. Philley Millie 4:45
06. Ah-Ma-Tell 5:59
07. I Love Annie's Fanny 4:48
08. Gloria 7:34
09. Where Do I Go From Here? 4:02