Conrad Herwig and the Latin Side All-Stars Pay Tribute to Horace Silver
Conrad Herwig is no stranger to reimagining the work of seminal jazz musicians and showcasing their “Latin side.” In 1998, he released The Latin Side of John Coltrane to wide acclaim. Over the years he has paid tribute to Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Joe Henderson.
On the surface, the concept sounds formulaic but after seeing the band live I can assure the listener that the concept is fresh and true to the source.
At the Blue Note, the band paid a fitting and fiery tribute to jazz icon Horace Silver. The vast majority of the repertoire consisted of Silver’s Greatest Hits, but the band made each and every tune their own, and included surprises along the way.
The band opened with their interpretation of “Cape Verdean Blues,” a tune Silver composed for his father, John Tavares Silva, who was born in Cape Verde. The tune’s lively Latin rhythms and calypso melodies conjured up visions of the islands and heralded the shape of things to come.
Herwig is nothing if not an engaging speaker. Between tunes, he shared Silver anecdotes with the audience and referred to him as a “funkster” and a founding father of Soul Jazz, which was popular from the mid to late 60s.
On a more poignant note, Herwig mentioned the fact that he was honored to have shared the stage with Silver during his last performance at the Blue Note.
“Silver’s Serenade” is one of my personal favorites, however I associate the tune with The Bronx Horns, who did an incredible job of exploring Silver’s “Latin Side” in 1998 with The Silver in the Bronx Horns (Timeless Records).
The tune, “Filthy Mc Nasty” is indicative of Silver’s “down and dirty” side, the rhythms are raucous, danceable, fun and a perfect vehicle for the band, who obviously enjoyed playing the tune as much as the audience enjoyed hearing it.
Silver composed “Nica’s Dream” for the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, a staunch patron of bebop and a close, personal friend to Silver, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk among others. Over the years, the tune has been covered to death but the band gave it a whole new outlook.
The performance featured two “secret weapons,” pianists Bill O’ Connell – who performed during the first-half – and the dynamic Michel Camilo who performed during the second-half. Their styles are a study in contrasts. Nevertheless, it was a treat to see O’ Connell and Camilo on the same stage.
Anyone who has seen Michel Camilo perform is aware of the fact that he is nothing if not a force of nature and he proved as much when he sat in with the band for “God’s of the Yoruba Pt. 1,” which is one of the songs of a 3-part suite that Silver composed and dedicated to “the Africans and their spiritual evolution.”
The powerful arrangement and the intense exchange between the players and Camilo caused a seismic shift, a musical explosion that washed over the audience and lifted the room off its axis. Camilo’s lightning fast hands were the icing on the cake.
Silver’s most popular tune, “Song For My Father” took the vibe down a notch but before the audience could catch their breath, the band countered with “Nutville,” a swinging and upbeat tune that left everyone wanting more.
In all, it was a heartfelt and revealing tribute. Anyone who was not familiar with Silver’s music going in left the room with a better understanding of why Silver’s legacy is so enduring.
Congratulations to the Latin Side All-Stars, all seasoned musicians and masters of their craft: Pianists Bill O’ Connell and Michel Camilo, reed player Craig Handy, trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, bassist Rubén Rodríguez, drummer Robby Ameen and percussionist Richie Flores.
The event was recorded for posterity and is due to be released sometime in 2015. Suffice it to say, the recording engineer had his or her work cutout out for them. Capturing the music is one thing. Capturing the energy in the room and the smiles on people’s faces as they filed out of the room is something else.
Photo of Conrad Herwig by Tomas Peña
In Conversation with Trombonist, Composer, Arranger Papo Vázquez
Miguel de Armas: Miguel de Armas and The Ottawa Latin Jazz Orchestra
Django Festival Allstars with special guest Edmar Castañeda Featuring Dorado Schmitt and sons Samson & Amati
Christian McBride’s New Jawn at Koerner Hall: Concert Review
Papo Vázquez Holiday Jazz & Latin Jazz Parranda with The Mighty Pirates Troubadours
Donald Vega: As I Travel
“They Shot The Piano Player” Screening At The Village East in New York And The Royal in Los Angeles
Una Navidad Nuyorkina: Celebrating 40 Years of Los Pleneros de la 21
The Latin Side of Jazz Episode 35
Sebastian Schunke: Existential Intensities
NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas with Melvis Santa, Alfredo Rodríguez and Hilario Durán
Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Borrowed Roses
Juan García-Herreros – The Snow Owl: Normas
Raphael Cruz Reaffirms His Commitment To Latin Jazz!
Edy Martínez, the Music Architect Behind the Piano
Rubén Blades con Roberto Delgado & Orquesta · Son de Panamá
Celebrating Emiliano Salvador and his Musical Legacy
Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: A Memorable Night in Toronto with Poncho Sánchez
A Conversation with Percussionist, Bandleader Poncho Sanchez
The Odyssey of Anat Cohen
Paquito D’Rivera & Quinteto Cimarrón: Aires Tropicales
Have You Seen My Nana? The Enduring Genius of Moacir Santos
Enrique Rodríguez: Enriquito – Me Quito El Sombrero
Roberto López Afro-Colombian Jazz Orchestra: Azul
Most Read in 2023
Featured Albums9 months ago
Aymée Nuviola feat. Kemuel Roig: Havana Nocturne
News10 months ago
Wilson “Chembo” Corniel Releases New Album: “Artistas, Músicos y Poetas”
News10 months ago
Aymée Nuviola To Release New Latin Jazz Album: “Havana Nocturne”
Events8 months ago
Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez Centennial Celebration