Horace Silver – In Pursuit of the 27th Man (1972)

Recorded in 1972, a decade removed from the last of Horace Silver’s classic quintet recordings, In Pursuit of the 27th Man has never been regarded as one of the pianist’s prime releases, which likely explains why Blue Note took this long to make it available on CD. But the album, which moves gracefully between quartet performances featuring vibraphonist David Friedman and quintet numbers featuring the young Brecker brothers (Randy on trumpet and Michael on tenor saxophone), has its distinctive charms. While maintaining the crispness and sense of adventure with which he has always signed his music, Silver and bands ease through some of his most appealing melodies. Songs such as Weldon Irvine’s “Liberated Brother” have the early ’70s written all over them, but even in those cases their light-handed lyricism and boppish vitality keep them fresh. Friedman’s idiosyncratic sound adds a sense of mystery to the music, which, with Bob Cranshaw on electric bass and Mickey Roker on drums, never lacks for a solid and soulful center. –Lloyd Sachs

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