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Horace Silver Song for My Father

9. Horace Silver: Song for My Father (Blue Note, 1965)
Pianist Silver was one of the originators of the hard-bop sound, and his first few recordings are foundational texts. By rights, he should have come earlier in this list. But “Song for My Father” looms too large in his legend to be omitted. Its signature upright-and-piano bass line is known to millions via Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” but it’s still a monster in its premiere form, supporting a zesty, simmering-hot melody that, heard once, seeps into the listener’s consciousness forever. Once again, though, one can’t stop with the title track. “Lonely Woman” (no relation to Ornette Coleman’s theme) is one of the staple Silver compositions, here in a beautiful trio performance. “Calcutta Cutie” represents a last hurrah of Silver’s greatest front line, with trumpeter Blue Mitchell and saxophonist Junior Cook. (The rest of the album features Carmell Jones and Joe Henderson.) And “Que Pasa” might even outdo “Song for My Father” as a showcase of everything Silver does best, including a thick, mysterious chord that this writer once saw spark a two-day Facebook debate among musicians.

Find Song for My Father on Amazon, Apple Music, and Walmart.