Sword Songs     The Black Brigade     Poetcetera
     
  THE IDEOLOGY
  THE BIOGRAPHY
  BIOGRAPHY UPDATE #1
  BIOGRAPHY UPDATE #2
  BIOGRAPHY UPDATE #3
  BIOGRAPHY UPDATE #4
  PHOTO GALLERY
  THE ARTICLES
  THE POETRY
  THE SPEECHES
 

THE INTERVIEWS

  THE ARTWORK
  THE MUSIC
  THE BOOKSTORE
 

THE BLACK BRIGADE

  HOMEPAGE
  GET Home
   
 

EMAIL
George Edward Tait

Available for Bookings

 


Art-Alive.com

 

 

BASSIST LARRY RIDLEY
STRIKES SILVER AT SCHOMBURG

  

     Father of funk, symbol of soul, and high priest of hard bop, Horace Silver combined Afrikan rhythms, gospel harmonies, and be-bop progressions to pioneer a new era in the evolution of jazz music.  During the post-bop period of the mid-‘50s to ‘60s, Silver struck gold with a successful series of critically acclaimed compositions that achieved instant inclusion in the classification system of jazz standards.  His most renowned compositions in this category are “The Preacher,” “Senor Blues,” “Sister Sadie,” “Filthy McNasty,” and “Song for My Father.”

     In a salute to the music of Horace Silver, bassist Larry Ridley and the Jazz Legacy Ensemble chose not to feature the favorites but to instead present a program of Silver’s lesser known gems, focusing more on his peerless artistry than his popular appeal.  The compositions selected for the presentation were primarily culled from “The Jody Grind” recording with the addition of two earlier compositions, “Mexican Hip Dance,” “The Jody Grind,” “Mary Lou,” “Blue Silver,” “Grease Piece,” “Dimples,” “Peace,” and “Room 608.”

     Moreover, the Jazz Legacy Ensemble is not only an all-star group, but most of the members have a special affinity for the music of Horace Silver.  The group, a sextet, consists of Virgil Jones (trumpet), James Spaulding (alto saxophone and flute), Charles Davis (tenor saxophone), Ronnie Matthews (piano), Larry Ridley (bass), and Alan Nelson (drums).  Spaulding, Davis, and Ridley recorded with Horace Silver, while Matthews was Silver’s pianist of choice to substitute for him when unable to make an engagement.

     It was clear that the October 29th audience at Schomburg’s Sunday Sounds program were Silverologists in good standing.  The attentiveness and applause throughout the concert continuously confirmed an allegiance to and appreciation of the artistry of Horace Silver as one of the greatest composers of all time.

     The ensemble’s first composition was “Mexican Hip Dance.”  The melody combined a south-of-the-border staccato swing with a north of the border legato blues.  All the soloists stayed within the context of the composition by keeping their minds in Mexico and their feet in Memphis.

     Next up was “The Jody Grind,” an idiomatic lesson in inner-city life with a streetcorner statement about the science of signifying and the art of attitude.  Davis took the first solo, having surrendered ego as a sacrifice for expression.  He became the blues; the blues became him.  He exuded perfection.  Jones followed with a funk a la mode manifesto mix of straight-ahead soul and hard bop.  Spaulding spirited excellence into every note and into the spaces between the notes.  Matthews mesmerized with fingers of fire and in flight.

     The program continued to simultaneously spotlight the superior sound of Silver’s compositions and the academic artistry of the ensemble.  In actuality, the musicians were six scientists on an archeological dig who became prospectors in the process by striking Silver.  This six-member team was no presenting a small part of their mother lode to the masses of treasure seekers.  The music continued.  “Mary Lou,” structured on a strong and striking bass line while the horns scaled the underside of mellow, spotlighted a sterling silver solo by Spaulding on flute.

     At this point, Ridley mad mention of the Million Man March by informing us that although the Jazz Ensemble did not attend it physically, they were there in spirit (Spaulding was there in body as well).  Furthermore, at the exact time of the March, they were in Senegal, West Afrika, on Goree Island, in the slave house, holding hands in silence and support for the March.

     The music of Horace Silver is consistently clinical, meticulous, comprehensive and meaningful.  The Jazz Legacy Ensemble, in presenting the immortal work of this living genius, has provided a service that is worth its weight in gold.

   

Author:  GEORGE EDWARD TAIT

Publication Name: NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS

 
+