Horace Silver: Doin’ The Thing (1961) Blue Note


Horace-Silver-Doin'-the-thing-cover-1800-LJCIntroductions Horace Silver Quintet  (Horace at age 33)


Selection: Filthy McNasty



Blue Mitchell (trumpet) Junior Cook (tenor saxophone) Horace Silver (piano) Gene Taylor (bass) Roy Brooks (drums) recorded by van Gelder at “The Village Gate”, NYC, May 19-20, 1961


One of the hottest live sessions ever recorded by van Gelder on his portable equipment, at the Village gate before an appreciatively hip audience. RVG achieves that “front seat in the club” atmosphere again, and the playing is astonishing. Junior Cook is cast as the young Mobley, his tone and swagger is so similar I’m not sure I could tell them apart. Silver’s solo really gets into the groove in a boogie-woogie pastiche which is head-shakingly rhythmic, whipping up the audience, who sound their appreciation. Forget 27 choruses of Diminuendo and Crescendo at ’56 Newport, Filthy McNasty ’61 is truly… nice.

Vinyl: BN 4076

One of the first issues on Blue Note’s new NY label in 1961. RVG stamped in the tiny remaining trail-off, a reminder that the LP is packed to its capacity with great music.


Alternative vinyl:  Blue Note BN-LA945-H   BT-LA0945[1]

Horace Silver – Sterling Silver

Issued 1979 by “Liberty United”, contains many tracks from the Village Gate sessions of the Horace Silver Quintet.


Collector’s Corner

One of my first Blue Note acquisitions, from an out-of-town record store which, like most of them, seemed to survive largely on selling ’60s rock and pop singles and memorabilia to not so young men, the nostalgia industry. Which is fine by me as it maintained the occasional appearance of vintage modern jazz.

I count fifteen albums with Silver as leader on my shelves, and it has been timely to play many of them through just now, as I am reminded how much excellent music is to be found here. Hopefully you may have found some of your own benefits from a new airing. I am hearing them again with fresh ears.

Thank you for your track nominations. I am making notes.






16 thoughts on “Horace Silver: Doin’ The Thing (1961) Blue Note

  1. Hi eveyone!
    I’ve just acquired a copy of the 1st stereo release(I hate the term “pressing”) from 1961 of this live performance by HSQ on ebay and although I can’t make a judgement just yet of it’s quality I just want to say that I always prefer live recordings of jazz performances since they tend to catch a supplementary mood of “public ambience” and spontaneity. I have several recordings from the Village gate and I just love it! The performers presentations and talking as well as the public reactions and interaction a just delicious. In this cases, having a truly stereo alternative really helps to capture the true dimension of the room making it even more lively. In any case, when speaking of live recordings I’m not very much concerned with the recording quality but much more with the advantage in musical terms that it can bring us.


    • I don’t think I have any other recordings at The Village Gate, but I have a number at The Village Vanguard, which is a superb live setting, readily recreated in stereo a domestic living room setting. Just refresh your glass, dim the lights, and settle down for front seat session. Likewise Café Bohemia, Jazz Corner of the World (Birdland), Lighthouse Hermosa Beach, Shelley Mann’s Manhole, The Blackhawk, Ronnie Scott’s …with the right man on the microphones, every night in can be Jazz Club night.


  2. i count eight lp records, by Horace Silver, from France Emi-Pathé to Original mono and throught Toshiba pressing. But all reserve to me great music and make me dance and move my legs. The best seller (with the less inetresting Jimmy Smith) from bN dream Team. I agree with you, now i want listen to them all


  3. I disagree with all comments.To my ears the record is musically not interesting,it is noisy and bad recorded.(yes I played the first pressing and there is nothing wrong with my set)


    • Kees, listening to the CD stereo version I don’t think the recording is all that bad. It’s even better than Finger Poppin’, which was recorded in the RVG studio two years earlier.


  4. At The Village Gate is an all-time favourite, with the stand out track Filthy McNasty as the ‘party cut’. I have the same copy as you have, LJC, with all the right details, but without the deep groove on Side 1, which would make it a true first – mine doesn’t have the deep groove on Side 1 either.


  5. I found this one used in an old shop in Wichita, KS 30+ years ago. One of my first jazz records. Thanks for posting the introduction … I have always loved it!


  6. LJC great choice. Just put this on the deck and Horace’s solo towards the latter part of the track may be the most exciting piano solo ever put to vinyl.


  7. If you like HS,as I understand you do,you should also look for “Horace Silver-Live 1964”.It was recorded in a nightclub in the NY area on June 6,1964 with Joe Henderson and Carmell Jones in the line-up.The record was issued in 1984 on HS’s own label Emerald.The music will make you pat your feet,as most HS records do.


  8. There’s some interesting reminiscence re The Village Gate at http://soundcheck.wnyc.org/story/98293-vanished-venues-village-gate/
    I’m sure a few of your Stateside contributors will be able to tell us more.
    A poster advertising a benefit concert from 27 December 1965 makes interesting reading with Monk, Sonny Rollins, Kenny Dorham and a host of others billed to appear- it can be tracked down with ease if you google The Village Gate.

    I empathise strongly with one of LGCs comments re his previous Horace Silver post, which said that some HS had been overlooked as he listened to other works. As somebody who is relatively time poor regarding the listening that I am able to expend, I sometimes feel that I am rushing on to my next post without fully absorbing the last set I’ve written about- which has given me a germ of an idea for my own blog.


  9. A wonderful record that, as you say, really captures the intimate club feel. I also have the New York in mono and a Capitol reissue which doesn’t actually sound that bad. I consider the first to be an ‘original’ pressing but would that be true? Would Blue Note have had only one pressing on New York or would there have been two or three separate runs depending on demand? Not that I care that much because they obviously used the same stampers if there were several pressings.


  10. This is one of my favorite live Jazz recordings and what I listened to the night I found out he passed away. Your review is spot on with my own thoughts. Fiery and front seat in the club are apt descriptors. I love Horace’s little verbal intro at the beginning. He was a hip cat.


  11. Thanks for posting LJC – I bought a BN New York mono copy of “Doin’ the Thing” one week before Silver’s death. I have had for years, a stereo solid blue label re-issue copy, but was curious to hear what improvements in sound quality the mono would offer. My conclusion – the mono version sounds much better. My stereo copy places Blue Mitchell’s trumpet and Junior Cook’s tenor on the left and right sides of center, and their solos sound washed out on my copy. With my just acquired mono copy everything is in the center, very focused and not the least bit washed out.

    I don’t know if all the stereo versions of this really nice live recording sound “washed out” like my re-issue, but my purchase of the mono has really revived my listening pleasure and appreciation for this great session.


  12. I bought this record last week in a shaggy record store in New Orleans (Euclid Records) when I was there on holidays. Only to find out Silver just past away that exact morning.
    Maybe the New Orleans voodoo got me to buy this record on that morning?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s