Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Horace Silver, 1928-2014: Legendary Pianist, Composer, and Ensemble Leader

(b. September 2, 1928--d. June 18, 2014)
Since January 9, 2014 we have lost the following GIANTS among us: Amiri Baraka,  Mabel Williams, Maya Angelou, Fred Ho, Chokwe Lumumba, Vincent Harding, Yuri Kochiyama, Ruby Dee, and now Horace Silver.  While these justly revered figures have peacefully made their respective transitions and we  are  now fortunate enough to fully embrace their inspiring  ancestral force in our lives,  it is indeed sobering and  truly humbling to remember and acknowledge just how profound and valuable the quality and depth of their  lives and the  creative legacies they have left have been and will continue to be for all of us. For they taught us what it really means to change and transform the world through the sheer force of one's personal contribution and courageous example in both Art and Life and for that we are and must remain eternally grateful.  Thank you Horace for your incredible music and the extraordinary lifeforce that it embodies and represents.  Rest in Peace and Power brother...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/arts/music/horace-silver-85-master-of-earthy-jazz-is-dead.html?_r=0 MUSIC

Horace Silver, 85, Master of Earthy Jazz, Is Dead 
By Peter Keepnews
JUNE 18, 2014
New York Times

Horace Silver in 1997
Credit Alan Nahigian

Horace Silver, a pianist, composer and bandleader who was one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of the 1950s and ’60s, died on Wednesday at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 85.

His death was announced by Blue Note Records, the company for which he recorded from 1952 to 1979.

After a high-profile apprenticeship with some of the biggest names in jazz, Mr. Silver began leading his own group in the mid-1950s and quickly became a big name himself, celebrated for his clever compositions and his infectious, bluesy playing. At a time when the refined, quiet and, to some, bloodless style known as cool jazz was all the rage, he was hailed as a leader of the back-to-basics movement that came to be called hard bop.

Hard bop and cool jazz shared a pedigree: They were both variations on bebop, the challenging, harmonically intricate music that changed the face of jazz in the 1940s. But hard bop was simpler and more rhythmically driven, with more emphasis on jazz’s blues and gospel roots. The jazz press tended to portray the adherents of cool jazz (most of them West Coast-based and white) and hard bop (most of them East Coast-based and black) as warring factions. But Mr. Silver made an unlikely warrior.

“I personally do not believe in politics, hatred or anger in my musical composition,” he wrote in the liner notes to his album “Serenade to a Soul Sister” in 1968. “Musical composition should bring happiness and joy to people and make them forget their troubles.”

And Mr. Silver’s music was never as one-dimensional as it was sometimes portrayed as being. In an interview early in his career he said he was aiming for “that old-time gutbucket barroom feeling with just a taste of the backbeat.” That approach was reflected in the titles he gave to songs, like “Sister Sadie,” “Filthy McNasty” and “The Preacher,” all of which became jazz standards. But his output also included gently melodic numbers like “Peace” and “Melancholy Mood” and Latin-inflected tunes like “Señor Blues.” “Song for My Father,” probably his best-known composition, blended elements of bossa nova and the Afro-Portuguese music of the Cape Verde islands, where his father was born.

His piano playing, like his compositions, was not that easily characterized. Deftly improvising ingenious figures with his right hand while punching out rumbling bass lines with his left, he managed to evoke boogie-woogie pianists like Meade Lux Lewis and beboppers like Bud Powell simultaneously. Unlike many bebop pianists, however, Mr. Silver emphasized melodic simplicity over harmonic complexity; his improvisations, while sophisticated, were never so intricate as to be inaccessible.

Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silver was born on Sept. 2, 1928, in Norwalk, Conn. His father, who was born John Silva but changed the family name to the more American-sounding Silver after immigrating to the United States, worked in a rubber factory. His mother, Gertrude, was a maid and sang in a church choir.

Although he studied piano as a child, Mr. Silver began his professional career as a saxophonist. But he had returned to the piano, and was becoming well known as a jazz pianist in Connecticut, by the time the saxophonist Stan Getz — soon to be celebrated as one of the leading lights of the cool school — heard and hired him in 1950.

“I had the house rhythm section at a club called the Sundown in Hartford,” Mr. Silver told The New York Times in 1981. “Stan Getz came up and played with us. He said he was going to call us, but we didn’t take him seriously. But a couple of weeks later he called and said he wanted the whole trio to join him.”

Mr. Silver worked briefly with Getz before moving to New York in 1951. He was soon in demand as an accompanist, working with leading jazz musicians like the saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. In 1953, Mr. Silver and the drummer Art Blakey formed a cooperative group, the Jazz Messengers, whose aggressive style helped define hard bop and whose lineup of trumpet, tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums became the standard hard-bop instrumentation.

After two and a half years, during which Mr. Silver began his long and prolific association with Blue Note, he left the Jazz Messengers, which carried on with Blakey as the sole leader, and formed his own quintet. It became a showcase for his compositions.

Another album by Mr. Silver is “Further Explorations by the Horace Silver Quintet.”  Credit:  Blue Note Records

Those compositions, beginning with “The Preacher” in 1955 — which his producer, Alfred Lion of Blue Note, had tried to discourage him from recording because he considered it too simplistic — captured the ears of a wide audience. Many were released as singles and garnered significant jukebox play. By the early ’60s Mr. Silver’s quintet was one of the most popular nightclub and concert attractions in jazz, and an inspiration for countless other bandleaders.

Like Blakey, Miles Davis (with whom he recorded) and a few others, Mr. Silver was known for discovering and nurturing young talent, including the saxophonists Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson and Michael Brecker; the trumpeters Art Farmer, Woody Shaw, Tom Harrell and Dave Douglas; and the drummers Louis Hayes and Billy Cobham. His longest-lived ensemble, which lasted about five years in the late 1950s and early ’60s, featured Blue Mitchell on trumpet and Junior Cook on tenor saxophone.

As interest in jazz declined in the ’70s, Mr. Silver disbanded his quintet and began concentrating on writing lyrics as well as music, notably on a three-album series called “The United States of Mind,” his first album to feature vocalists extensively. He later resumed touring, but only for a few months each year, essentially assembling a new group each time he went on the road.

“I’m shooting for longevity,” he explained. “The road is hard on your body. I’m trying to get it all over with in four months and then recoup.” He said he also wanted to spend more time with his son, Gregory, who survives him.

In 1981, Mr. Silver formed his own label, Silveto. His recordings for that label featured vocalists and were largely devoted to what he called “self-help holistic metaphysical music” — life lessons in song with titles like “Reaching Our Goals in Life” and “Don’t Dwell on Your Problems” that left critics for the most part unimpressed.

Jon Pareles of The Times wrote in 1986 that Mr. Silver’s “naïvely mystical lyrics” made his new compositions sound like “near-miss pop songs.” On later albums for Columbia, Impulse and Verve, Mr. Silver returned to a primarily instrumental approach.

Mr. Silver was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 1995 and received a President’s Merit Award from the Recording Academy in 2005.

Many of his tunes became staples of the jazz repertoire — a development, he said, that surprised him. “When I wrote them,” he said in a 2003 interview for the website All About Jazz, “I would say to myself that I hope these at least withstand the test of time. I hope they don’t sound old in 10 years or something.”

Rather than sounding dated, his compositions continued to be widely performed and recorded well into the 21st century. And while he acknowledged that “occasionally I hear an interpretation of one of my tunes that I say that they sure messed that one up,” he admitted, “For the most part I enjoy all of it.”


(Originally posted on September 2, 2013):

Monday, September 2, 2013



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.

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 | September 2, 1928 – June 18, 2014 | in memoriam

Courtesy Blue Note Records

Legendary jazz pianist, composer-arranger and poet-sculptor of funky hard bop, dies at age 85
Horace Silver was brilliant. A populist musician-performer. he loved and respected the audience he’d helped build for an earthy style of bebop deeply rooted in jazz’s blues and gospel origins. With drummer Art Blakey, Silver co-founded the conquering Jazz Messengers. I’m old enough to remember seeing his name listed as Stan Getz’s pianist on 78- and 45-rpm discs on the Royal Roost label when, at age 12, I began to collect records in earnest. I remember, too, the time I called to speak to him when Phil McKellar, a radio DJ at CKLW — a Canadian station in Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit — was interviewing Silver right after Six Pieces of Silver, his first Blue Note album, came out.

A tuba player in Detroit’s Central High band, I was just beginning to play trumpet. In a live broadcast Horace asked: “Al, do you play?”

“Yes,” I said.



“Oh, yeah, all right! Come on down to the club, man — and bring your horn.”

I almost died. I’d just sarted taking lessons. By the time he reached his late teens, Horace Silver had moved from Connecticut to New York to play professionally.

Consider the titles of some of his classics: “Señor Blues,” “Opus de Funk,” “Quicksilver,” “The Preacher,” “Filthy McNasty ,” “Sister Sadie,” “Doodlin’,” “Opus de Funk,” “Nica’s Dream,” “Strollin,’” ‘The Tokyo Blues” “The Bagdhad Blues,” “Psychedelic Sally,” and “Song for My Father.”

Is there a price we can place on the treasury of pleasure Horace Silver has left to us?
– Al Young

Jazz Profiles from NPR
Horace Silver
Produced by Miyoshi Smith

Read and listen

Horace Silver is widely regarded as the father of hard bop piano. He places heavy emphasis on the blues and even gospel roots of jazz, while working in intricate, original improvisations. His energetic playing and infectious compositions never fail to get listeners moving to the rhythm.

Listen to trumpeter Randy Brecker, drummer Louis Hayes, and writer Gary Giddins talk about Horace's music

Born of African American and Portuguese parentage on September 3, 1928 in Norwalk, Connecticut, Horace's first introduction to music came in high school, where he played saxophone in the marching band and orchestra. He didn't get really serious about music until after he heard Jimmy Lunceford's band play.

Listen to Horace recall listening with his father to Jimmy Lunceford's band

Horace switched from saxophone to piano and immersed himself in jazz, teaching himself to play and jamming frequently with his teenage friends. His big break came when he was offered a job at the Sundown nightclub in Hartford, where he backed some of the most famous names in jazz, including saxophonist Stan Getz who was so impressed with him that he asked him to join him on the road.

Eventually, Horace settled in New York, finding steady work as a jazz recording session pianist. His remarkable solos on Miles Davis' 1954 Prestige album, Walkin', that caught the attention of many jazz musicians and critics.

A few months prior to Miles' Walkin' sessions, Horace teamed up with drummer Art Blakey and formed the Jazz Messengers. The first edition included trumpeter Kenny Dorham, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, and bassist Doug Watkins. Their soulful sound soon became synonymous with the group's label, Blue Note Records.

Listen to Giddins explain how Horace's music came to define the mid-1950s Blue Note sound
"I hope my stuff will be naturally commercial, but it has to be natural, you know. I'm not gonna do something that's not me. I've been myself my whole life, throughout my musical career."
-- Horace Silver

Horace left the Messengers in 1956, but he kept up a relationship with Blue Note that lasted over 25 years, recording some of the label's most treasured albums. His ensembles became hands-on training grounds for future jazz stars including Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Joe Henderson, and many others.

Listen to saxophonist Joe Henderson and Brecker explain Silver's compositional and leadership style

Horace created signature compositional elements that would later be closely studied by both his contemporaries and those who followed in his footsteps. One was the way he would write unison parts for the bass player and his left-hand rhythmic figure on piano; another was the way he wrote bracing horn harmonies on top of rollicking rhythms.

Listen to Horace explain some of his compositional methods

Despite the immediate distinction of Horace's music, he doesn't adhere to any particular formula. He draws from a wide array of complex harmonies, rhythmic motifs, and codas.

Listen to Horace dismiss formulaic approach to compositon

As a pianist, Horace has never demonstrated the pyrotechnics of an Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson, becoming instead an artist who works brillantly within his means, especially when it comes accompanying other soloists.

Listen to Giddins and Horace talk about his piano playing

Horace's music always betrays his love for Latin music. He grew up listening to Cape Verdean folk songs from his father, who hailed from that region. On songs such as "The Cape Verdean Blues" and "Señor Blues," Horace pushes the Latin influences to the forefront.

Listen to Horace share his love for Latin music

After leaving Blue Note Records in 1979, Horace released material on his independent lables, Silverto and Emerald. He transitioned back to the major labels in the 1990s, releasing critically acclaimed CDs for Columbia and Impulse! Records. Now in his seventies, Horace is still thrilling audiences with his soulful playing.

Listen to Horace reflect on his music


View Horace Silver show playlist


Listen to the NPR Basic Jazz Record Library entry for Horace Silver' 1964 album Song For My Father

Browse the NPR Jazz Web site -- NPRJazz.org

Three Audio Clips
Canadian Jazz Archive Online | FM 91 (Toronto)

© Blue Note Records

Listen to “Song for My Father,”(Canção para Meu Pai) just one of Horace Silver’s celebrated and much-played works.

Seasoned jazz lovers A.B. Spellman and Murray Horowitz revisit Horace Silver’s music to discuss in depth his deathless “Song for My Father.”

“Nica’s Dream”

Horace Silver, composer and pianist; Donald Byrd, trumpet, Hank Mobley, tenor saxophone; Doug Watkins, bass; Art Blakey, drums

© Columbia Records

Horace Silver: 'Song for My Father'
August 01, 2001

Horace Silver's father on the cover of Silver's classic Blue Note recording 'Song for My Father' in 1964

Hear the NPR Basic Jazz Record Library Entry

4 min 4 sec

Web Resources

Horace Silver on the Web

A.B. SPELLMAN, National Endowment for the Arts: Murray Horwitz, this is Horace Silver playing "Song for My Father," one of his famous compositions. Why do you like this CD?

MURRAY HORWITZ, American Film Institute: I don't know if anybody, like me, can ever use the word mature in a sentence, and be taken seriously. But, it is a kind of a maturation of the hard-boppers, who sort of did a funkier thing than the straight bebop that was prevalent in the 1940s and early '50s. And by 1964, when this was recorded, it really is a kind of mature sound. These men know exactly what they are doing.


SPELLMAN: Horace Silver's own piano style is very syncopated and very heavily chorded.

HORWITZ: And for that reason, I think you put your finger onto something. It's deceptive. You know, because, it doesn't sound like he's doing much. But if you listen carefully, he's always building it, emotionally and intellectually, and therefore musically. He builds these wonderful solos in a way that you hardly notice that he's doing it.

SPELLMAN: Horace is as much recognized as a composer as he is for a soloist. So, what are your favorite compositions on this one?

HORWITZ: Right, A.B., he's written a lot of jazz standards, really, that have been recorded by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey. On this record, the title tune, "Song for My Father," pays kind of an homage to his father, who came from the Cape Verde Islands. There's a gorgeous, piano trio ballad called, "Lonely Woman."


SPELLMAN: The musicians on this CD are a mixture of very well known soloists like Joe Henderson, Horace, Junior Cook, and Blue Mitchell, but also some lesser known musicians.

HORWITZ: There's a trumpet player named Carmell Jones. There's a drummer named Roger Humphries. And one of the delights of jazz music, I think, is that very often some people who you've never heard of can come up with some very satisfying, and very swinging performances. And all of these performances are swinging.


HORWITZ: This is actually an album that was kind of patched together back in the '60s at a moment when Horace Silver changed the personnel in his band, so you actually have two different bands playing on different sessions. And that gives a littler more excitement to the record, I think. That's one of the reason that I like it, I've decided, because it's exciting music. And there's a littler grittier texture to the new band, because maybe they aren't used to playing together as much.


SPELLMAN: So, for your NPR Basic Jazz Record Library, we're recommending Song for My Father by the pianist Horace Silver. It's on the Blue Note label. For NPR Jazz, I'm A.B. Spellman.

HORWITZ: And, I'm Murray Horwitz.

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 (Jazz.com)

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 composer

Posted by Kofi Natambu at 2:01 PM
Labels: 20th century Art, African American music, Hardbop, Horace Silver, Improvisation and composition, Jazz piano, Music History