Friday, April 2, 2010
Horace SILVER – Rockin’ With Rachmaninoff 1991
Rockin' with Rachmaninoff is an album by jazz pianist Horace Silver, recorded in 1991 and finally released on the Bop City label in 2003, featuring performances by Silver with Michael Mossman, Bob Summers, Ricky Woodard, Ralph Bowen, Doug Webb, Andy Martin, Bob McChesney, Bob Maize, and Carl Burnett, with vocals by Andy Bey. The Allmusic review by Ken Dryden awarded the album 4 stars and states "Horace Silver's Rockin' With Rachmaninoff was originally conceived as a stage musical, complete with singers, dancers, musicians, and a narrator to tell the story of the composer's idea of Duke Ellington introducing Sergei Rachmaninoff to all the jazz greats in heaven... If this CD is any indication as to the quality of Horace Silver's short-lived musical, it must have been one hell of a show".
Inspired by a dream and conceived as a stage musical that ran for three nights in Hollywood in 1991, the jazz suite Rockin’ with Rachmaninoff has finally reached listeners in CD form. For various reasons, piano great Horace Silver kept these twelve tracks on the shelf for over a decade. They find “the hard bop grandpop” in excellent form, backed by a strong cast of players: Michael Mossman on trumpet, Rickey Woodard, Ralph Bowen and Doug Webb on tenors, Andy Martin and Bob McChesney on trombones, Bob Maize on bass and Carl Burnett on drums. Andy Bey, a longtime Silver band member, appears on four cuts in strong voice (this was several years prior to his much-vaunted comeback). Vocalist Dawn Burnett delivers the seductive melody of “Satchmo’s Song,” tears it up on the brisk gospel number “Sunday Mornin’ Prayer Meetin’,” and duets with Bey on the closing title track. The lyrics to these pieces are less than stellar; perhaps they lose something in the transition from stage to studio.
The best thing about this release is that it brought Horace Silver to New York last month for a week at the Blue Note. Pianistically, the 75-year-old leader may have lost a little steam since 1991, but he wrung the very best out of tenors Eric Alexander and Ray McMorrin, trombonists Conrad Herwig and Steve Davis, bassist John Webber, drummer Joe Farnsworth and trumpeter Mossman, the only holdover from the studio session. Silver’s aesthetic remains distinctive and evergreen, and it was well served by these powerful, elegant five horn arrangements and this driving, old school New York rhythm section.
Beautifully recorded, the album sheds light on all sides of Silver’s writing personality, from the lilting waltz of “Satchmo’s Song” (as memorable a tune as he’s ever written), to the intervallic nuances of “A Ballad for Hawk,” to the easygoing grooves of “Rocky’s Overture” and “Monkeyin’ Around with Monk,” to the classic Silverian minor-key grooves of “Rocky Meets the Duke” and “Hallelujah To Ya.”
By David Adler. AAJ.
Horace Silver’s Rockin’ With Rachmaninoff was originally conceived as a stage musical,
complete with singers, dancers, musicians, and a narrator to tell the story of the
composer’s idea of Duke Ellington introducing Sergei Rachmaninoff to all the jazz greats in
heaven. Though it was only performed a few times during a short run in 1989 at the
Barnesdale Theatre in Hollywood, Silver had the foresight to record selections from it two
years later, though it would be a dozen additional years before this music became available
commercially, released by Bop City. “Rocky’s Overture” is a solid opener, featuring the
leader and trombonist Andy Martin, while “Rocky Meets the Duke” is a blend of Silver’s
readily identifiable style of hard bop with the swinging feeling of Ellington. “Satchmo’s Song”
is a warm waltz sung with gusto by Dawn Burnett, followed by a spirited Michael Mossman
trumpet solo. Andy Bey, a favorite of numerous musicians, is featured in several selections,
but pays a warm tribute to tenor sax great Coleman Hawkins in “A Ballad for Hawk.”
Although it is an instrumental, there’s no missing the spiritual influence in the driving
“Hallelujah to Ya,” which has brilliant solos by tenor saxophonist Rickey Woodard and
Mossman, as well as the composer. If this CD is any indication as to the quality of
Horace Silver’s short-lived musical, it must have been one hell of a show;
too bad it wasn’t videotaped.
By Ken Dryden. AMG.
Horace Silver- Piano
Doug Webb- Tenor Sax
Bob Summers- Trumpet
Andy Martin- Trombone
Bob McChesney- Trombone
Bob Maize- Bass
Carl Burnett- Drums
Andy Bey- Vocals (1,5,6,9,11)
Rickey Woodard- Tenor Sax (2,6-8,11)
Michael Mossman-) Trumpet (3,4,8
Dawn Burnett- Vocals (3,7,11)
Ralph Bowen- Tenor Sax (6,11)
01. Rocky’s Overture 5:39
02. Rocky Meets the Duke 6:09
03. Satchmo’s Song 7:16
04. Monkeyin’ Around With Monk 5:42
05. Ballad for Hawk 5:51
06. Skunky Funky Blues 6:51
07. Sunday Mornin’ Prayer Meetin’ 5:03
08. Hallelujah to Ya 5:11
09. Righteous Rumba 6:23
10. Lavender Love 5:29
11. Rockin’ With Rachmaninoff 4:31