David “Knife” Fabris
Horace Is Blue: A Silver Noir Review for allmusic.com by Steve Loewy
At first blush, Ran Blake might seem an odd choice to perform tunes written by Horace Silver. But, as this recording shows, Blake's approach is so encompassing that he can transform the simple blues-drenched melodies of Silver into something darker and more sophisticated. The best pieces are those in which Blake plays alone. His singular vision carefully gets inside a song and gently turns it inside out. Alto saxophonist James Merenda and electric guitarist David "Knife" Fabris, former students at the New England Conservatory of Music where Blake teaches, often seem superfluous. Fabris seems to blend nicely with the pianist's lines while Merenda sometimes seems intimidated and relegated to a supporting role. Nonetheless, the saxophonist does emerge from the shadows occasionally to show considerable potential. Four of the most interesting tracks are the alternate versions of "Ecaroh" and "Song for My Father," each of which shows the extraordinary talents of Blake as an interpreter.