by John Lawrence
11. Horace Silver: Silver 'N Voices
Horace Silver along with Art Blakey was the most important small group bandleader of the 50s and 60s. He employed the standard small group line-up of tenor saxophone, trumpet, piano, bass, and drums. His group was the training grounds for young players who went on to be major artists. In addition Horace was a prolific composer. All the compositions - words and music - on this album are by Horace. Horace had a very uplifting message, not found too often in the jazz world. It is well represented on this album. In addition there are some classic trumpet solos by Tom Harrell. Great solos by saxophonist Bob Berg also. This album is very accessible for the neophyte jazz listener.
His most successful album and well worth listening to in addition to this one was Song for My Father. He recorded frequently on Blue Note records which became the most successful jazz label of that era and is still going today. Horace's comping behind his soloists was fantastic and added energy to the solo. Many of his varied repertoire of songs, including "Doodlin'", "Peace", and "Sister Sadie", became jazz standards that are still widely played. His considerable legacy encompasses his influence on other pianists and composers, and the development of young jazz talents who appeared in his bands over the course of four decades.
12. Art Blakey: Moanin'
Art Blakey's group along with Horace Silver's became the training grounds for young jazz players many of who went on to record under their own names and create great careers. Unfortunately, Art was also the one who got many of them hooked on heroin including Bobby Timmons, the pianist on this album who composed Moanin', and Lee Morgan who is the trumpeter on this album. His band served as a developmental stage for future bandleaders including Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Chuck Mangione, Jackie McLean, Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton, Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, and Bobby Timmons.
The rest of the tunes on the album were composed by Benny Golson, one of the most prolific jazz composers. In his autobiography, Whisper Not: The Autobiography of Benny Golson, Benny relates how his composition Killer Joe was always played by Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band every night when they went to commercial. This resulted in a check for $100. sent to Benny each time the tune was played. Benny is one of the most important figures in the jazz having composed numerous standards and played sax in some great groups. Later he gave up jazz for a career in Hollywood, but came back to it in later years. He currently is still playing.
13. Art Farmer - Modern Art
One of the best and most underrated trumpet players in jazz was Art Farmer. Together with Benny Golson he formed the Jazztet in 1959, the high water mark for jazz and influential and popular jazz albums like Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue", Dave Brubeck's "Time Out." and John Coltrane's "Giant Steps. Art was the most tasteful and musically literate of all the trumpet players of the 50s and 60s. The arrangements and consistency on this album are first rate. His playing is known for its lyricism, warmth of tone and sensitivity. Bill Evans, also know for these same qualities, accompanies Art and Benny on this album. The combined quality of professionalism and musicianship is outstanding.
Art came from a musical family. His mother played piano in the AME church. His identical twin, Addison, who is also on this album was a professional jazz bassist. Art grew up in Phoenix, AZ when the schools were segregated and no music lessons were available. He taught himself to read music and play the trumpet. In later years he used the more mellow sounding flugelhorn.