Monday, September 2, 2013


(b. September 2, 1928)


The legendary pianist and composer Horace Silver (b. September 2, 1928), one of the seminal and crucial creative links between the black modernist musical styles known popularly as "bebop" and "hardbop" throughout the 1950s, '60s, '70s and beyond as well as one of the masters of developing a fresh and innovative synthesis of these dynamic post 1945 styles with black vernacular traditions in blues, funk, and gospel musics which became a very popular genre known widely as "Soul Jazz" which were represented by such major groups of the period as the original 'Jazz Messengers' an ensemble which Silver cofounded with the famed drummer Art Blakey in 1954 as well as various bands led by such important musicians and composers as Cannonball and Nat Adderley, the electrifying Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet, and many different trios, quartets, and larger ensembles led by a large and prominent number of pianists, organists, drummers, trumpet players, and saxophonists of so-called Modern Jazz in the elctrifying 1945-1980 era. What follows is a heartfelt tribute to one of the most creatively lyrical, soulful, and consistently compelling musicians and composers in post WW2 American music on his 85th birthday.   ENJOY...




"Song For My Father" (1964)

Horace Silver (born September 2, 1928), born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva in Norwalk, Connecticut, is an American jazz pianist. Silver is known for his distinctive humorous and funky playing style and for his pioneering compositional contributions to hard bop. Silver was influenced by a wide range of musical styles, notably gospel music, African music, and Latin American music and sometimes ventured into the soul jazz genre.

Song for My Father is a 1964 album by the Horace Silver Quintet, released on the Blue Note label. The album was inspired by a trip that Silver had made to Brazil. The cover artwork features a photograph of Silver's father, John Tavares Silver, to whom the title song was dedicated.

A jazz standard, "Song for My Father" is here in its original form. It is a Bossa Nova in F-minor with an AAB head. On the head, a trumpet and tenor saxophone play in harmony. The song has had a noticeable impact in pop music. The opening bass piano notes were borrowed by Steely Dan for their song "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", while the opening horn riff was borrowed by Stevie Wonder for his song "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing".

Horace Silver — piano
Carmell Jones — trumpet
Joe Henderson — tenor saxophone
Teddy Smith — bass
Roger Humphries — drums

"Senor Blues" (1964)--Composition by Horace Silver

The Horace Silver Quintet:

Horace Silver - piano
Blue Mitchell - trumpet
Junior Cook - tenor saxophone
Gene Taylor - bass
Louis Hayes - drums

Let's Get to the Nitty Gritty: The Autobiography of Horace Silver by Horace Silver with Phil Pastras (Editor) , Steve Isoardi (Introduction), Joe Zawinul (Foreword)

University of California Press; First edition (hardcover), 2006; first edition (paperback), August, 2007

Horace Silver is one of the last giants remaining from the incredible flowering and creative extension of bebop music that became known as "hard bop" in the 1950s. This freewheeling autobiography of the great composer, pianist, and bandleader takes us from his childhood in Norwalk, Connecticut, through his rise to fame as a musician in New York, to his comfortable life “after the road” in California. During that time, Silver composed an impressive repertoire of tunes that have become standards and recorded a number of classic albums. Well-seasoned with anecdotes about the music, the musicians, and the milieu in which he worked and prospered, Silver’s narrative—like his music—is earthy, vernacular, and intimate. His stories resonate with lessons learned from hearing and playing alongside such legends as Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, and Lester Young. His irrepressible sense of humor combined with his distinctive spirituality make his account both entertaining and inspiring. Most importantly, Silver’s unique take on the music and the people who play it opens a window onto the creative process of jazz and the social and cultural worlds in which it flourishes.

Let’s Get to the Nitty Gritty also describes Silver’s spiritual awakening in the late 1970s. This transformation found its expression in the electronic and vocal music of the three-part work called The United States of Mind and eventually led the musician to start his own record label, Silveto. Silver details the economic forces that eventually persuaded him to put Silveto to rest and to return to the studios of major jazz recording labels like Columbia, Impulse, and Verve, where he continued expanding his catalogue of new compositions and recordings that are at least as impressive as his earlier work.

Horace Silver
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Background information

Birth name    Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva[1]
Born     September 2, 1928 (age 84)
Norwalk, Connecticut, United States
Genres    Jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, mainstream jazz, soul jazz, jazz fusion, post-bop
Occupations    Pianist, composer, bandleader
Instruments    Piano
Years active    1950–1999

Associated acts Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Art Farmer, Gigi Gryce, Milt Jackson, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Junior Cook, Blue Mitchell, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Bob Cranshaw, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Mickey Roker

Horace Silver (born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva, September 2, 1928, Norwalk, Connecticut, United States) is an American jazz pianist and composer.[1]

Silver is known for his distinctive humorous and funky playing style and for his pioneering compositional contributions to hard bop. He was influenced by a wide range of musical styles, notably gospel music, African music, and Latin American music and sometimes ventured into the soul jazz genre.[2][3]


1 Early life and career
2 Blue Note years
3 Influences
4 Later years
5 Legacy
6 Discography
6.1 As leader
6.2 As sideman
7 References
8 External links

Early life and career

His father, who was known as John Tavares Silva, was from the island of Maio in Cape Verde. His mother was born in New Canaan, Connecticut, and was of Irish-African descent.
Silver began his career as a tenor saxophonist but later switched to piano. His tenor saxophone playing was highly influenced by Lester Young, and his piano style by Bud Powell. Silver was discovered in the Sundown Club in Hartford, Connecticut in 1950 by saxophonist Stan Getz. Getz was playing as a guest star at the club with Silver’s trio backing him up.[4] Getz liked Silver’s band and brought them on the road, eventually recording three of Silver’s compositions. It was with Getz that Silver made his recording debut.

He moved to New York City in 1951, where he worked at the jazz club Birdland on Monday nights, when different musicians would come together and informally jam. During that year he met the executives of the label Blue Note while working as a sideman. He eventually signed with them, remaining there until 1980. It was in New York that he formed The Jazz Messengers, a cooperatively-run group with Art Blakey.

In 1952 and 1953 Silver recorded three sessions with his own trio, featuring Blakey on drums and Gene Ramey, Curly Russell and Percy Heath on bass. The drummer-pianist team lasted for four years; during this time, Silver and Blakey recorded at Birdland (A Night at Birdland Vol. 1) with Russell, Clifford Brown and Lou Donaldson, at the Bohemia with Kenny Dorham and Hank Mobley, and also in the studios. Silver was also a member of the Miles Davis All Stars, recording the influential Walkin' in 1954.
Blue Note years[edit source]

From 1956 onwards, Silver recorded exclusively for the Blue Note label, eventually becoming close to label boss Alfred Lion, who allowed him greater input on aspects of album production than was usual at the time. During his years with Blue Note, Silver helped to create the rhythmically forceful branch of jazz known as "hard bop", which combined elements of rhythm-and-blues and gospel music with jazz. Gospel elements are particularly prominent on one of his biggest hits, "The Preacher", which Lion thought corny, but Silver persuaded him to record it.

While Silver's compositions at this time featured surprising tempo shifts and a range of melodic ideas, they caught the attention of a wide audience. His own piano playing easily shifted from aggressively percussive to lushly romantic within just a few bars. At the same time, his sharp use of repetition was funky even before that word could be used in polite company. Along with Silver's own work, his bands often featured such rising jazz stars as saxophonists Junior Cook and Hank Mobley, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, and drummer Louis Hayes. Silver's key albums from this period include Horace Silver Trio (1953), Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers (1955), 6 Pieces of Silver (1956) and Blowin' the Blues Away (1959), which includes his famous "Sister Sadie". He also combined jazz with a sassy take on pop through the 1961 hit "Filthy McNasty".
Influences[edit source]

Silver tended not to play up that he was proficient in Portuguese, nor draw directly on his rich Lusophone musical upbringing. His 1965 hit, "Cape Verdean Blues," is the only clear rhythmic reference to his childhood home where his father and friends jammed, with traditional Capeverdean morna and coladeira as the main fare. In the interview for the liner notes to 1964's Song for My Father (Cantiga Para Meu Pai), however, Silver remarked of the title track, "This tune is an original of mine, but it has a flavor of it that makes me think of my childhood days. Some of the family, including my father and my uncle, used to have musical parties with three or four stringed instruments; my father played violin and guitar. Those were happy, informal sessions." Silver melded additional Lusophone influences into his music directly after his February 1964 tour of Brazil. Referring to "Song for My Father," Silver said, "I was very much impressed by the authentic bossa nova beat. Not just the monotonous tick-tick-tick, tick-tick, the way it's usually done, but the real bossa nova feeling, which I've tried to incorporate into this number."

His early influences included the styles of boogie-woogie and the blues. It includes but is not limited to Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Nat “King” Cole, and Thelonious Monk. He liked to quote other musicians within his own work and would often recreate famous solos in his original pieces as something of a tribute to the greats who influenced him.
During Silver's time with Blakey he rarely recorded as a leader, but after splitting with him in 1956, formed his own hard bop quintet at first featuring the same line-up as Blakey's Jazz Messengers with 18-year-old Louis Hayes replacing Blakey. The quintet's more enduring line-up featured Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook.

In 1963 Silver created a new group featuring Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone and Carmell Jones on trumpet; this quintet recorded most of Silver's best-known album Song for My Father. When Jones left to settle in Europe, the trumpet chair was filled by a young Woody Shaw and Tyrone Washington replaced Henderson.

Silver's compositions, catchy and very strong harmonically, gained popularity while his band gradually switched to funk and soul. This change of style was not readily accepted by many long-time fans. The quality of several albums of this era, such as The United States of Mind (on which Silver himself provided vocals on several tracks), is to this day contested by fans of the genre. Silver's spirituality displayed on these albums also has a mixed reputation. However, many of these later albums featured many interesting musicians (such as Randy Brecker). Silver was the last musician to be signed to Blue Note in the 1970s before it went into temporary hiatus. In 1981 he formed his own short-lived labels, Silveto and Emerald.

Later years

After Silver's long tenure with Blue Note ended, he continued to create vital music. The 1985 album Continuity of Spirit (Silveto) features his unique orchestral collaborations.

In the 1990s, he directly answered the urban popular music that had been largely built from his influence on It's Got To Be Funky (Columbia, 1993). Now living surrounded by a devoted family in California, Silver has received much of the recognition due a venerable jazz icon. In 2005, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) gave him its President's Merit Award. The SFJazz Collective focused on Horace Silver's music for their 2010 season.[5]


Silver's music has been a major force in modern jazz. He was one of the first pioneers of the style known as hard bop, influencing such pianists as Bobby Timmons, Les McCann, and Ramsey Lewis. Second, the instrumentation of his quintet (trumpet, tenor sax, piano, double bass, and drums) served as a model for small jazz groups from the mid-1950s until the late 1960s.[citation needed] Further, Silver's ensembles provided an important training ground for young players, many of whom (such as Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Blue Mitchell, Woody Shaw, Junior Cook, and Joe Henderson) later led similar groups of their own.

Silver's talent did not go unnoticed among rock musicians who bore jazz influences, either; Steely Dan sent Silver into the Top 40 in the early 1970s when they crafted their biggest hit single, "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number," off the bass riff that opens "Song for My Father."

As social and cultural upheavals shook the nation during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Silver responded to these changes through music. He commented directly on the new scene through a trio of records called The United States of Mind (1970–72) that featured the spirited vocals of Andy Bey. The composer got deeper into cosmic philosophy as his group, Silver 'N Strings, recorded Silver 'N Strings Play The Music of the Spheres (1979).


As leader:
Blue Note Records

1955: Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers
1956: 6 Pieces of Silver
1957: The Stylings of Silver
1958: Further Explorations
1958: Live at Newport '58
1959: Finger Poppin'
1959: Blowin' the Blues Away
1960: Horace-Scope
1961: Doin' the Thing
1962: The Tokyo Blues
1963: Silver's Serenade
1965: Song for My Father
1965: The Cape Verdean Blues
1966: The Jody Grind
1968: Serenade to a Soul Sister
1969: You Gotta Take a Little Love
1970: That Healin' Feelin'
1971: Total Response
1972: All
1972: In Pursuit of the 27th Man
1975: Silver 'n Brass
1976: Silver 'n Wood
1977: Silver 'n Voices
1978: Silver 'n Percussion
1979: Silver 'n Strings Play the Music of the Spheres
Silverto Records/Emerald Records
1964: Live 1964
1965: The Natives are Restless Tonight
1981: Guides to Growing Up
1983: Spiritualizing the Senses
1984: There's No Need to Struggle
1985: The Continuity of Spirit
1988: Music to Ease Your Disease
Columbia Records
1956: Silver's Blue
1993: It's Got to Be Funky
1994: Pencil Packin' Papa
Impulse! Records
1996: The Hardbop Grandpop
1997: A Prescription for the Blues
Other labels
1962: Paris Blues (Pablo)
1991: Rockin' with Rachmaninoff (Bop City)
1999: Jazz Has a Sense of Humor (Verve)
The United States of Mind (Blue Note) - compiles That Healin' Feelin', Total Response, and All
As sideman[edit source]
with Nat Adderley :
Introducing Nat Adderley (1955, EmArcy)
with Art Blakey :
A Night at Birdland Vol. 1 (1954, Blue Note)
A Night at Birdland Vol. 2 (1954, Blue Note)
A Night at Birdland Vol. 3 (1954, Blue Note)
At the Cafe Bohemia, Vol. 1 (1955, Blue Note)
At the Cafe Bohemia, Vol. 2 (1955, Blue Note)
Art Blakey with the Original Jazz Messengers (1956, Columbia)
Originally (1956, Columbia)
with Dee Dee Bridgewater :
Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver (1994, Verve)
with Kenny Burrell :
K. B. Blues (1957, Blue Note)
with Donald Byrd :
Byrd's Eye View (1955, Transition)
with Paul Chambers :
Whims of Chambers (1956, Blue Note)
with Kenny Clarke :
Bohemia After Dark (1955, Savoy)
with Al Cohn :
Al Cohn's Tones (1953, Savoy)
with Miles Davis :
Miles Davis Volume 1 (1954, Blue Note Records)
Blue Haze (1954, Prestige Records)
Walkin' (1954, Prestige Records)
Bags' Groove (1954, Prestige Records)
with Kenny Dorham :
Afro-Cuban (1955, Blue Note Records)
with Lou Donaldson :
Quartet/Quintet/Sextet (1952, Blue Note Records)
with Art Farmer :
Early Art (1954, Prestige)
The Art Farmer Septet (1954, Prestige)
with Leonard Feather :
Cats vs. Chicks (1954, MGM)
with Stan Getz :
The Complete Roost Recordings (1951, Blue Note Records)
Birdland Sessions (1952, Fresh Sound)
With Giants of Jazz
Giants of Jazz (1955, Mercury Records)
with Terry Gibbs :
Jazz USA (1951, Brunswick)
with Gigi Gryce :
When Farmer Met Gryce (1954, Prestige)
Nica's Tempo (1955, Savoy)
with Coleman Hawkins :
Disorder at the Border (1952, Spotlite)
with J. J. Johnson :
The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson Volume 2 (1955, Blue Note)
with Milt Jackson :
Milt Jackson Quartet/Quintet (1954, Prestige Records)
Milt Jackson Quartet (1955, Prestige Records)
Plenty, Plenty Soul (1957, Atlantic)
with Cliff Jordan & John Gilmore
Blowing in from Chicago (1957, Blue Note)
with Howard McGhee :
Howard McGhee, Volume 2 (1953, Blue Note)
with Hank Mobley :
Hank Mobley Quartet (1955, Blue Note)
The Jazz Message of Hank Mobley (1956, Savoy)
Hank Mobley Sextet (1956, Blue Note)
Hank Mobley and his All Stars (1957, Blue Note)
Hank Mobley Quintet (1957, Blue Note)
with J. R. Monterose :
J. R. Monterose (1956, Blue Note)
with Lee Morgan :
Lee Morgan Indeed! (1956, Blue Note)
Lee Morgan Sextet (1956, Blue Note)
with Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore :
Blowing in from Chicago (1957, Blue Note)
with Rita Reys :
The Cool Voice of Rita Reys (1956, Columbia)
with Sonny Rollins :
Sonny Rollins, Vol. 2 (1957, Blue Note)
with Sonny Stitt :
Arrangements by Richards (1953, Roost/Mosaic)
With Clark Terry:
Clark Terry (EmArcy, 1955)
with Phil Urso :
The Philosophy of Urso (1954, Savoy)
with Lester Young :
The Pres Box, Vol. 10-12 (1953, Jazz Up)
References[edit source]

^ a b "Distinguished Americans & Canadians of Portuguese Descent". Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
^ Allmusic
^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 140. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
^ Feather, Leonard. In New Faces - New Sounds [LP liner notes].
^ [1][dead link]
External links[edit source]

Official site

Horace Silver Discography at the Hard Bop Home Page
Horace Silver entry at the Jazz Discography Project
Listening In: An Interview with Horace Silver by Bob Rosenbaum, Los Angeles, December 1981 (PDF file)
"The Dozens: Twelve Essential Horace Silver Recordings" by Bill Kirchner (

Horace Silver by Dmitri Savitski, 1989.

Horace Silver - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Horace Silver (born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva, September 2, 1928, Norwalk, Connecticut, United States) is an American jazz pianist and