JJ 05/61: Horace Silver – Finger Poppin’

Sixty years ago, Gerald Lascelles saw Horace Silver as a stabilising influence between old and new jazz. First published in Jazz Journal May 1961

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If one must categorise, I suppose the Silver Quintet epitomises “funk”. The solo honours are about equally divided between Horace, Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook. All three work with the beat, rather than away from it, and their phrasing stems from the bop school which also helped to form Bud Powell.

The latter was Horace’s biggest in­fluence, although this is less noticeable on this most recent example of his play­ing. The sombre “Sweet Stuff”, for in­stance, allows Silver sufficient chordal scope to depart from his former in­fluences, and to indulge in a blues-based meditation.

If you find Horace and the quintet as important as I do, as one of the few stabilising influences between the old and the new approaches to modern jazz, I think you will enjoy this record. It has some excellent solos, some very rapid and rhythmic piano playing, and the whole is presented with such admir­able forethought that it deserves a niche in any collection.

There is far too little of Silver’s recorded work available in this country, for he has sustained the quality of his group over several years when standards have, by and large, tended to deteriorate.

Discography
Finger Poppin’; Juicy Lucy; Swingin’ The Samba; Sweet Stuff – Cookin’ At The Con­tinental; Come On Home; You Happened My Way; Mellow D
Blue Mitchell (tpt); Junior Cook (ten): Horace Silver (p): Eugene Taylor (bs); Louis Hayes (d).
(Blue Note 4008. 12inLP. 49s. 4d.)