THE HORACE SILVER QUINTET Song For My Father (Blue Note)

Blue Note? That’s...jazz isn’t it?! Quick, get rid of it before somebody starts reviewing Kenny G albums or something. Well, yes, "Song For My Father" is a jazz album, but as far as jazz-albums-for-people-who-don’t-like-jazz go it’s right up there with Dave Brubeck’s "Time Out" and a few choice John Coltrane and Miles Davis works, the prime reason being that the title track contains the riff that Steely Dan pilfered to create "Rikki Don’t Lose That Number". Can’t be bad, in fact it’s downright fantastic, from the steady, almost plodding bossa nova rhythm, through its glorious, crackling riff and fine solos by Horace Silver (piano) and Joe Henderson (tenor sax), it’s seven and a quarter minutes of pure musical genius. The rest of the album ain’t no slouch either, especially the rip roaring "The Natives Are Restless Tonight" and "The Kicker".

But, you’re probably not wondering, why is he suddenly reviewing a 34 year-old jazz album? Well, my feeble excuse is that, following its twenty Centenary vinyl reissues covered two issues ago, EMI has again done the decent, prayer-answering thing by repressing ten titles from the Blue Note catalogue ("The Finest In Jazz Since 1939", remember), as audiophile quality slabs of 180 gram vinyl, mastered from the original tapes. Which is fabulous, apart from the all-too-obvious surface noise on the title track, which suggests the substitution of the master tape for a good-as-we-can-get original pressing of the record, presumably to counteract the wow problems that have been noted on CD reviews of this classic album. This petty niggle aside, "Song For My Father" has at last been blessed with the sort of sonic tender loving care a work of its stature deserves, and for the analogue aficionado or curious would-be jazz fan is thoroughly recommended by me. Now, what further unexpected delights are to emerge from EMI’s Hayes pressing plant?