Horace Silver – The Cape Verdean Blues (1965)

In the years 1965-66 Woody was a member of the Horace Silver Quintet, and this was his first recording with the group. The other members of the band at this time were Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Bob Cranshaw on bass, Roger Humphries on drums, and of course Horace Silver on piano. J J Johnson also guests on trombone for three numbers. This album was recorded only a month before Woody and Joe Henderson played on Larry Young’s Unity, and the music is far more straight-ahead. Woody proves himself to be a fine hard bop trumpet player – just as on Eric Dolphy’s Iron Man he sounds at times like Lee Morgan and at others like Freddie Hubbard. However, most of his solos contain relatively conventional changes playing. His playing is often bluesy too, especially on the slower numbers. The only tune on which he explores more adventurous harmonic territory is the second tune, The African Queen.

I think that at this time Woody was pursuing various experimental ideas about harmony and improvisation (as shown by his playing on Unity a month later), but he felt the Horace Silver Quintet was not the place to try out these ideas. For one thing, Silver would have been 37 in 1965, 16 years older than Woody, and had already established himself as a big name in the jazz world. Whereas Woody, a young 21 year old, was still finding his way as a musician, and will have wanted to play in a style fitting with that of his band leader, saving his experimental ideas for sessions with more forward thinking musicians such as Larry Young.

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2 thoughts on “Horace Silver – The Cape Verdean Blues (1965)

  1. Even though you might not think it Horace was a forward thinking musician. He was intrumental, along with Art Blakey, and Clifford Brown in refining the HardBop group sound and his compositions are among the finest in jazz history.

    A few years after this date Horace would record “The United States of Mind,” which blended his bop influence with his holistic approach, while employing rock rhythms, vocals, and even electric keyboards.

    In the 70s he would record a great series of albums — Silver ‘n’ Brass, Percussian, Wood, and VOices — which unfortunately have long been out of print. These records would introduce the jazz world to Tom Harrell and Bob Berg.

  2. Hi Keith,
    Thanks for your comment. I realise that Horace Silver was a key player in the development of hard bop, but I guess I am looking at the ways Woody Shaw developed the genre and his innovations in trumpet playing. I will try to track down those albums though and check them out. Thanks for checking out my blog and I appreciate your comments.

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