Horace Silver The Cape Verdean Blues (1965) Blue Note

Track Selection 1: Nutville (Silver)

A helter-skelter bop with pace without getting overly concerned with musical long-haul travel

Track selection 2: Bonita

A latin bop slower groove with some delicious solos


Woody Shaw (tp) Joe Henderson (ts) Horace Silver (p) Bob Cranshaw (b) Roger Humphries (d) JJ Johnson (trb) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, October 1, 1965


The record title alludes to Silver’s father originating from Cape Verde,  350 miles off Senegal and the western coast of Africa, on the 16th century  trade routes dominated by seafaring Portuguese and Italian traders. Musically it bears no relation to that incredibly fertile Afro-Portuguese musical melting pot, where Fado meets Mandinka, wonderful, but Silver was twenty years too early for World Music. So he associates with a 60’s romanticized homeland, musically set pretty firmly in the parameters of New York modern jazz, with a touch of latin and calypso.

A welcome presence is Joe Henderson on tenor. With so many self-expressive and boundary-pushing tenor players in the mid sixties, Henderson offers reassuring continuity with the past. JJ Johnson on the other hand has a firm grip on the future. This is not soul, it is not tortured avant guard, it is friendly music, relaxing music, happy music. Just what I need after a cold wet weekend in London heading for Winter.

Vinyl: Blue Note BLP 4220

Blue Note original, mono edition, NY labels, ear, VAN GELDER, everything you could ask for. The new-style hybrid label and run-out format below tells the story, hopefully in much the same way as you experience it when you hold the record, in high dynamic range. Click for 1600 pixel High Definition experience. (CD owners are welcome to stare at their evil silver disk in the forlorn hope it may have something of interest to show you)

Collectors Corner

Source Ebay  Location: UK

Sellers Description:  mono first press LP SLEEVE is crisp and vibrant brilliant condition: no rips or splits the rear has correct ‘ import stamp’ and 43 west 61st street address *please note owners name on top left*** correct  printed blue note inner sleeve. Record is   ‘ near mint ‘ deep vinyl lustre and perfect sound VAN GELDER and earmark in the dead wax A STUNNING EXAMPLE played perhaps just once or twice final upgrade copy !

For some years I have a transitional after 1966 Liberty press (no ear) stereo dressed in New York labels, which always sounded pretty good, but the instinct to upgrade to a Plastylite mono was well founded. It is always instructive to listen to what you think sounds good, then play “the real thing” The Blue Note original is immediately more fresh and engaging. The original sounds natural and organic, the later press sounds stressed, stretched, hi-fi like, with added chemicals and preservatives. Not unpleasant, but the original is by far the more satisfying experience.


Cristian has spotted another Blue Note cover with the same girl, Grant Green’s “I want to hold your hand”. A nifty bit of Photoshop confirms it is a perfect match. Great catch.

A sample of “proper” Cape Verdean music to play us out, the magnificent Cesaria Evora from  “Voz d’Amour” (courtesy of the evil silver disk)

8 thoughts on “Horace Silver The Cape Verdean Blues (1965) Blue Note

  1. One of Silver’s best, I reckon, LJC. When you need a blast of that intensely finger- snapping stuff, Horace is the man to reach for. Enjoy.

    • Interestingly the photo is attributed to Reid Miles not Francis Wolff or a stock photo agency. In the best tradition of Miles Davis’s cover ladies, its probablyhis wife or girlfriend, shot in the NY Botanical Gardens. Nowadays a cover shoot like this requires a full crew of twenty including the model, wardrobe and makeup artists, lighting assistants, catering crew, logistics managment and Mr Miles personal valet, all shot on location in Cape Verde. How times have changed.

      • Do I detect an unhealthy interest in girly covers, Cristian? Well spotted!
        Taking 4202 off my shelf, I see it too is “cover photo and design Reid Miles”. Please see update at foot of post. The smart money is on it being Miles Reid’s girlfriend.

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