Horace Silver – Song For My Father

More Horace Silver

More Blue Note Albums

  • The piano is clear and clean here, with much more weight and solidity than one would expect from an RVG recording
  • This copy was obviously cut with super-low distortion mastering equipment, and boy does it help the sound
  • 5 Stars: “Horace Silver’s signature LP and the peak of a discography already studded with classics. Silver was always a master at balancing jumping rhythms with complex harmonies for a unique blend of earthiness and sophistication, and Song for My Father has perhaps the most sophisticated air of all his albums…”

The leading edge transients on the horns here are excellent, with the pinched quality you hear on some tracks kept to a minimum. The whole of the ensemble is transparently clear.

The drums on this record have a wonderful quality: they actually sound like hollowed out, three-dimensional objects that are being struck in order to make them resonate — which is kind of what they are — the opposite of the cardboard drums you hear on bad rock records. (We hear a lot of drums on old rock records that sound like somebody is slapping a corrugated shipping carton with a mallet. You lose a lot of points if you’re a record with that sound.)

Classic Jazz – How Can You Go Wrong?

What the best sides of this landmark Horace Silver album have to offer is clear for all to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1965
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the keyboards, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now

Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Trade-Offs

The best sounding original copies we’ve picked up over the years have almost always been far too noisy and scratched to be acceptable to audiophiles, not to mention the fact that the originals were (and are) replete with mastering issues that seem to exacerbate problems in the recording itself.

Having said all that, every Hot Stamper copy we found had its own mastering strengths and weaknesses — the Tubey Magic and fullness in the best originals is hard to find on later pressings, but the later pressings have a clarity and freedom from obvious compressor and cutter-head distortion that makes them appealing in their own right. We should also mention the reissues often have much better brass sound, being both more dynamic and less smeary.

Rudy, Nice Piano For a Change!

One surprising finding was how good the piano sounds on the better copies. It has depth, solidity and lacks that irritating “boxy” hardness that one finds on so many RVG recordings.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Song for My Father
The Natives Are Restless Tonight 
Calcutta Cutie

Side Two

Que Pasa? 
The Kicker 
Lonely Woman

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

… Song for My Father is Horace Silver’s signature LP and the peak of a discography already studded with classics. Silver was always a master at balancing jumping rhythms with complex harmonies for a unique blend of earthiness and sophistication, and Song for My Father has perhaps the most sophisticated air of all his albums… mainstream hard bop rarely comes as good as Song for My Father.

Horace Silver

From the perspective of the 21st century, it is clear that few jazz musicians had a greater impact on the contemporary mainstream than Horace Silver. The hard bop style that Silver pioneered in the ’50s is now dominant, played not only by holdovers from an earlier generation, but also by fuzzy-cheeked musicians who had yet to be born when the music fell out of critical favor in the ’60s and ’70s.

Silver’s piano style — terse, imaginative, and utterly funky — became a model for subsequent mainstream pianists to emulate. Some of the most influential horn players of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s first attained a measure of prominence with Silver — musicians like Donald Byrd, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Benny Golson, and the Brecker Brothers all played in Silver’s band at a point early in their careers. Silver has even affected members of the avant-garde; Cecil Taylor confesses a Silver influence, and trumpeter Dave Douglas played briefly in a Silver combo.

Certainly, no one ever contributed a larger and more vital body of original compositions to the jazz canon. Silver died in New York on June 18, 2014 at the age of 85.

Allmusic