Personnel: Andy LaVerne (piano); Rick Margitza (tenor saxophone); Tim Haggans (trumpet); Steve LaSpina (bass); Billy Drummond (drums).
One might think that focusing on a single composer's well-known pieces and then pretty much using the same instrumentation as he did in a recording session would be a recipe for disaster. But pianist Andy LaVerne manages to find something fresh within ten pieces by Horace Silver, even though he utilizes the same instruments as most of the original recordings. With a front line including trumpeter Tim Hagans and tenor saxophonist Rick Margitza, LaVerne approaches "Strollin'" with a lighter rhythmic touch, while he opens "Song for My Father" with a disguised vamp and immediately starts twisting it harmonically. An explosive medley combining "Nutville" and "Cape Verdean Blues" sizzles with excitement, contrasting with the mellow ballad "Peace," which beautifully blends Hagans' muted horn with Margitza's warm tenor. LaVerne's one original, "Serenade to Silver," is a perky original that captures the spirit of its honoree perfectly. This is a fine all-around salute by Andy LaVerne to the great Horace Silver. ~ Ken Dryden