Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Few jazz musicians have established as firm an identity as has Horace Silver. More important, the veteran pianist-composer-band leader, featured this week at Blues Alley, continues to produce attractive new works and groups that are capable of doing them justice.
The current Silver quintet (with John McNeil, trumpet and fleugelhorn; Larry Schneider, tenor sax and alto flute; Jon Burr, bass; and Harold White, drums is on a par with the best of Silver's previous units; the rhythm section certainly is the strongest he has had in several years.
To its credit, the group devoted its first set Tuesday night to a new extended piece that was rehearsed only that afternoon.
The first section, "Turning in to the Master," featured McNeil and Schneider on trumpet and tenor sax, respectively. Each displayed an unhurried lyricism that fit the tune perfectly. McNeil's style was reminiscent of an ex-Silver sideman, trumpeter Blue Mitchell.
Part Two was a pretty waltz, "The Master Guides Us," with the front line switching to fluegelhorn and alto flute. Schneider's tone and ideas here were especially impressive.
"Dedication to Discipline" reverted to the loping tempo of the opening segment. At this point, the rhythm section came to the fore. Silver turned in a typically witty solo, and Burr demonstrated his skill with the bow.
The closer, "We Must Expect Positive Results," was done at a slightly faster pace and featured the quintet's most aggressive playing of the set.