Stopped by Green Lady Lounge the other night to check out Stan Kessler’s band, Horoscope. This group exclusively features the music of Horace Silver. I’ve always admired Stan Kessler, for his music business skills, along with his obvious music talent. We had a discussion on the phone quite a few years ago about his “Jazz Meets Chant” project. That project combined jazz with Gregorian chant. I told him that Ithought that as well as being a great artistic idea, it was a good business idea, because it could potentially draw in a lot of non-jazz fans. He said that the project had been a great success, and he wished he could come up with those type of ideas all the time. So anyway, when I saw he had a group exclusively playing the music of Horace Silver, I thought to myself that here was another one of his very creative music business decisions.
This is a five-piece group, featuring the traditional jazz trio-piano, upright bass, and drums, along with trumpet and tenor sax. The trio features Roger Wilder on piano, James Albright on upright bass, and Sam Wisman on drums.
I’d seen Sam Wisman play at the Blue Room one before. He sounded really good then. With Horoscope I thought he sounded fantastic. He told me how much fun it was to play this particular music, and it’s really evident in his playing. I’ve listened to lots of jazz drummers, so I’m always surprised when I hear and see drummers play things that I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. That takes real talent, imagination and creativity.
I’d heard the Buddy Rich Big Band play a couple of these Horace Silver tunes years ago. What was interesting to me is that this quintet sounded a lot like a big band. The arrangements are geared that way, and so you get this really big, full sound. I especially enjoyed hearing Horace Silver’s “Nutville.”
If you haven’t got to see “Horoscope” perform yet, you definitely should. Trust me, this a much better way to spend your evening than staying home watching “America’s Next Top Garbage Man,” or whatever the current popular reality show happens to be at this time.