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Blowin’ the Blues Away is one of Horace Silver’s all-time Blue Note classics, only upping the ante established on Finger Poppin’ for tightly constructed, joyfully infectious hard bop. This album marks the peak of Silver’s classic quintet with trumpeter Blue Mitchell; it’s also one of the pianist’s strongest sets of original compositions. The pacing of the album is impeccable, offering up enough different feels and slight variations on Silver’s signature style to captivate the listener throughout. Two songs — the warm, luminous ballad “Peace” and the gospel-based call-and-response swinger “Sister Sadie” — became oft-covered standards of Silver’s repertoire, and the madly cooking title cut wasn’t far behind. And they embody what’s right with the album in a nutshell — the up-tempo tunes (“Break City”) are among the hardest-swinging Silver had ever cut, and the slower changes of pace (“Melancholy Mood”) are superbly lyrical, adding up to one of the best realizations of Silver’s aesthetic.
Through it all, Silver remains continually conscious of the groove, playing off the basic rhythms to create funky new time patterns. The typical high-impact economy of his and the rest of the band’s statements is at its uppermost level, and everyone swings with exuberant commitment. In short, Blowin’ the Blues Away is one of Silver’s finest albums, and it’s virtually impossible to dislike.
This book is part of a project by Erik Veldkamp to transcribe the complete albums of Blue Mitchell, note for note. There is no better way to dive into the vocabulary of one of the greatest jazz players in history than to see his solos come to life on the page.
To the left you will find one transcription for free, below you will find the song list, and above you can grab an immediate digital download.