Live at Newport ’58 Blue Note
Recently discovered in Columbia’s vaults, these pieces of Silver from the hard bop heyday catch one of the genre’s trendsetting quintets in good form. With the leader on piano were the late, lamented and more than solid tenor and bassist, Junior Cook and Gene Taylor, drummer Louis Hayes, and a brilliant, now all but forgotten trumpeter, Louis Smith. It was a crisp, together, working group, with good frontline soloists. If Silver was overshadowed by them, he was part of a swinging, locked-tight rhythm section. His gift for distinctive, catchy compositions set the band’s identity, epitomised by Señor Blues (a latin 12-bar in minor) and Cool Eyes, their clever signature tune. Meanwhile, such pieces as Tippin’ and The Outlaw somehow managed to be both convoluted and enjoyable. This is sunny music, a stranger to angst and pain, and very much of its time.