Horace Silver: Seņor Blues (Live at Newport)
Horace Silver (piano)
Live at Newport '58 (Blue Note 98070)
Composed by Horace Silver.
Recorded: Live at the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island, July 6, 1958
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
I read in the paper the other day that the value of Silver is on the rise. The folks at Blue Note must have taken notice, and dug into their vaults for some hidden Silver artifacts.
Okay, you want to gripe that Blue Note kept a great session unreleased for a half century. But that wouldn't be fair. In point of fact, the label only waited 49 years, 6 months and 28 days before letting us hear Horace Silver's dynamic Sunday afternoon set from the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival.
But we're lucky to get this at all. Thanks to Michael Cuscuna, who tracked down tapes (currently housed in the Columbia archives) that George Avakian had made of the entire festival that year, we can enjoy the sound of a great Silver band playing at top form. The sound quality is also outstanding -- not always a given when the Gringott's goblins dig up lost tapes from their dark, deep vaults.
Silver had enjoyed a mini-hit the previous year with "Seņor Blues," and Blue Note even issued a 45-rpm single version to take advantage of the song's appeal. But the Newport audience is treated with the extended version, almost nine minutes long. Silver was a master of Latin, funk and hard-bop grooves, but he rarely did a better job of putting them all together into a single arrangement. Not only has this performance held up well after five decades, but it makes one nostalgic for the days when a memorable instrumental chart could become a jazz classic and a popular hit.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia
If you liked this track, also check out
- Horace Silver: Seņor Blues (studio version)
- Horace Silver: Song for My Father
- Herbie Hancock: Cantaloupe Island