Horace Silver

Essential Blue: The Classic of Horace Silver

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Single-disc jazz retrospectives and best-ofs never seem to work because the complexity and scope of the music simply defies easy encapsulation -- while still too patchy to cohere as a listening experience, the Jazztronik-compiled Essential Blue: The Classic of Horace Silver nevertheless does touch on all the myriad facets of the legendary pianist's career from the signature radio hit "Song for My Father" to the weird, wooly vocal psychedelia of "I've Had a Little Talk." The omissions are numerous, of course, but what resonates is the true breadth of Silver's visions -- few if any of his Blue Note contemporaries embraced the mainstream so fervently or so fearlessly, and the twists and turns of this loving, knowledgeable anthology documents his reach in full.

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