When musicians call Herb Silverstein "Doc", it isn't just because of his aptitude in straight-ahead composing and musicianship but also 'cause the guy's an ear surgeon by day…and then a jazzbo by night, a 'Double-Doc' if you will. Monday Morning is a collection of all-original pieces by Silverstein, and they're not so much concentrated on the songs per se as on setting some great frameworks from which many highly melodic solos jump out and beguile the listener. In that, Doc Herb selected some very good sessioneers, the most impressive of which is guitarist LaRue Nickelson, who may not have the pedigree of his compeers but sure as hell has the chops.
And the other cats indeed have impressive cred, having played with Dave Liebman, Tony Bennett, Gary McFarland, Gabor Szabo, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Danny Gottlieb, Sam Rivers, Maynard Ferguson, and a host of others. But take a second look at those names: quite a wide sonic spread, yet Silverstein integrates all of it in his charts so well that no song tips either to the staid or to the outrageous, maintains a well defined set of perimeters that nonetheless allow a hell of a lot for the disciplined and imaginative crew.
And The Doc's also a modest cat. Though You're Almost Right is completely his, a piano solo from start to finish, and he takes a long balladic intro to My Valentine, the rest of the ten-spot is laden with no end of expositional space for all concerned, and they go to it like hungry but refined diners at a sophisticated feast. Yep, this is pure straight-ahead jazz and you, dear aficionado, are invited to take a place at the table, dig in, and smile an elegant but grinning acknowledgement of the chef's skills. As I say, though, pay special attention to Nickelson's solos, 'cause that's sweet guitar playing right there, y'all, and with Steve Khan-esque mellifluous inventiveness in more than one spot.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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