The Keepnews Collection is a series of reissues of classic Riverside jazz albums. Mr. Keepnews was the co-founder and producer of Riverside Records and tells great anecdotes from that time. Every episode is a different album.
Today’s feature: Blue Mitchell with ‘Blue Soul’
You might also want to check out my previous posts about these series:
Here we see a fresh, modest, neatly combed, 30 year old Horace, one of my favorite men (musically and personally) in jazz.
After the demise of The Jazz Messengers , Silver put together his own quintet and recorded ’Six Pieces of Silver' in 1956. He hadn't intended to become a working bandleader, but the success of 'Señor Blues' created a demand for the Horace Silver Quintet and launched Silver as a leader.
'Señor Blues' is a 6/8 Latin piece with a dark, exotic flavor that recalls no other jazz composer as much as Duke Ellington. The first two chords are E-flat minor and B7, resembling (whether consciously intended or not) one of Ellington’s favorite harmonic gestures. Cook, Mitchell and Silver carefully maintain the atmosphere of the piece in their solos. In that respect, Silver’s dense chording behind the two horns is an enormous help; his own solo, after a written interlude by the horns, is an effective contrast.
This is a performance at the Laren’s Singer Theatre (The Netherlands, 1959) with some slightly different personnel than he used on ‘Six Pieces Of Silver’:
Horace Silver - Piano Junior Cook - Tenor Saxophone Blue Mitchell - Trumpet Gene Taylor - Bass Louis Haynes - Drums