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November 1997

Horace Silver
Further Explorations
Blue Note Records

Further Explorations ranks among Silver's greatest recordings, which is saying a lot. The personnel's as good as any Horace ever had, including trumpeter Art Farmer, tenorman Clifford Jordan, bassist Teddy Kotick and drummer Louis Hayes. Beyond this the album contains some superb Silver compositions. The asymmetrically constructed "Melancholy Mood" and "The Outlaw" show Silver departing from the 12, 16 and 32 bar forms popular when this album was cut. Horace also contributes the lovely "Moon Rays," the buoyant "Safari" and "Pyramid," a mysterious minor piece.

The solos consistently impress. Silver's rightly known as a funky player, but doesn't get enough credit for his refined sensitive playing, as on "Melancholy Mood." Farmer, one of the great post bop trumpeters, makes an unusual selection of intervals but still plays very melodically attractive solos. Jordan turns in sinewy work rooted in the playing of men like Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins. Kotick, reportedly Charlie Parker's favorite bassist, and Hayes keep things moving along briskly.

Originally published in November 1997
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