Horace Is Blue: A Silver Noir, 2001

Reviews for Ran Blake’s Horace Is Blue: A Silver Noir (With Dave Fabris & James Merenda)
Released in 2001 on hatOLOGY

“Even though Horace Silver has always shown a predilection for somewhat unusual structures, his pieces are generally designed as blowing vehicles and it would be hard to find an aspiring jazzer who hasn’t worked out on “Song For My Father,” “The Preacher,” Senor Blues” or some other piece of Silver. It takes a real individualist to make such well-known material sound new, but Ran Blake certainly fills the bill on the excellent Horace Is Blue. He rethinks, reharmonizes and drastically revoices the music to suit a unique trio, or parts thereof, featuring his piano, guitarist David Fabris and altoist James Merenda. The program includes familiar and unfamiliar titles, some of which are used as points for radical departure. Others are interpreted with the original versions plainly in mind, but even here, the approach is anything but obvious; Fabris is particularly adept at reinterpreting the bluesy Silver feeling. The guitarist works so well with Blake that one wonders if he could ever play with a “normal” pianist again. Here’s hoping he’ll never have to: the dangerous piano-guitar combination has rarely worked as well as it does with these two. Merenda is also a fine player who adds just the right touch.”

-Duck Baker, JazzTimes

“If Duo En Noir represents one type of project for which Blake is well known, then Horace Is Blue: A Silver Noir (hatOLOGY, 2000) is a remarkable example of the other, the “songbook” or homage. And, with nearly all of Blake’s recordings with larger ensembles currently unavailable (including the excellent Portfolio of Doktor Mabuse [Owl, 1983], orchestral music that is cinematic without descending to the Ellingtonian grotesques of Quincy Jones or the B-movie blare of Elmer Bernstein), this new release gives us yet another chance to hear Blake the arranger. His trio is completed by James Merenda on richly inflected alto saxophone and fellow educator David “Knife” Fabris on guitar.”

-Joe Milazzo, One Final Note

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