Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy Birthday: Horace Silver

Jazz pianist, composer and Hard Bop innovator Horace Silver, born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva on September 2, 1928. Silver is known for his humorous, funky style of playing that was influenced by Gospel, African music, Latin music, and other genres. He started out playing tenor sax, but later changed to piano. Silver was discovered by saxophonist Stan Getz after Silver's trio backed him at a gig in the Sundown Club in Hartford, Connecticut in 1950. It was with Getz that Silver made his recording debut.

Horace Silver would later go on to record several albums with many Jazz notables. In 1963 he teamed up with Carmell Jones on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone, Teddy Smith on bass and Roger Humphries on drums to record most his best known album titled Song For My Father that was released in 1964 on Blue Note Records. Three of the album's songs featured Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Junior Cook on tenor saxophone, Eugene Taylor on bass and Roy Brooks on drums.

In an interview for the liner notes for Song For My Father, Silver commented on the title track saying: "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." After his tour of Brazil in 1964 which led to a heavy Lusophone influence in "Song For My Father", Silver is also noted as saying: "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."

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