Monday, March 13, 2017

Horace Silver Quintet on Blue Note 45

I'm sticking with Blue Note after my last post. BN put out 45 RPM singles as well as LPs. I have no idea how widely distributed through normal retail record channels these were; they were primarly intended for jubebox and radio play. Some singles were tracks from Blue Note albums (sometimes (edited for length), but many of them were recorded as singles, with no album release at the time. (I think that almost all of them have been reissued on CD, often as bonus tracks on CD versions of classic Blue Note albums.)

BN 45-1710, by the Horace Silver Quintet was one of those single-only releases, and it's a really interesting and enjoyable one. For one thing, this little 1958 record documents a version of the Silver Quintet that doesn't appear elsewhere on records, with trumpeter Donald Byrd on trumpet and tenor saxophonist Junior Cook as the front line. Silver is on piano of course, and his regular rhythm team of the time, Gene Taylor on bass and Louis Hayes on drums, complete the band. For the "A" side, the quintet is joined by Bill Henderson for a vocal version of "SeƱor Blues," which Silver had recorded as an instrumental a couple of years earlier. (Incidentally, Silver wrote lyrics for many of his compositions, even if they were recorded only as instrumentals.) The flip side is by the quintet without Henderson - a typical hard-swinging Silver original called "Tippin'," which runs over six minutes long.

Due to its single-only release status, this was one of Silver's most obscure Blue Note releases for many years. Since these tracks showed up as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of 6 Pieces of Silver, they have become easy to find, easy to hear. But my inner record collecting geek thinks it's cool to have a copy of the original 45.

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