Horace Silver: Cookin' at the Continental


Cookin' at the Continental


Horace Silver (piano)


Finger Poppin' (Blue Note BST-84008)

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Horace Silver (piano), Blue Mitchell (trumpet), Junior Cook (tenor sax), Gene Taylor (bass), Louis Hayes (drums).

Composed by Horace Silver


Recorded: Hackensack, NJ, January 31, 1959


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

The album Finger Poppin' introduced Horace Silver's longest-lasting front line, Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook, who worked with the pianist from 1959 to 1964. However, the highlight of "Cookin' at the Continental," a medium-up blues, is Silver's piano solo, one of his most harmonically adventurous on record. Silver's use of fourths in his lines must have intrigued such gifted then-up-and-comers as McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and especially Chick Corea. (Want a revealing comparison? Play this recording back to back with Corea's 1968 version of "Matrix"—also a medium-up blues—on Now He Sings, Now He Sobs. You'll hear an interesting lineage.)

In 1994, the GRP All-Star Big Band recorded an arrangement of "Cookin' at the Continental" by Michael Abene on the album All Blues. The climax of the chart is Abene's orchestration of a transcription of Silver's recorded piano solo—a textbook example of the value of an improvisation as composition.

Reviewer: Bill Kirchner

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