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Horace Silver

From the perspective of the 21st century, it is clear that few jazz musicians had a greater impact on the contemporary mainstream than Horace Silver. The hard bop style that Silver pioneered in the '50s is now dominant, played not only by holdovers from an earlier generation, but also by fuzzy-cheeked musicians who had yet to be born when the music fell out of critical favor in the '60s and '70s.

Silver's earliest musical influence was the Cape Verdean folk music he heard from his Portuguese-born father. Later, after he had begun playing piano and saxophone as a high schooler, Silver came under the spell of blues singers and boogie-woogie pianists, as well as boppers like Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. In 1950, Stan Getz played a concert in Hartford, Connecticut, with a pickup rhythm section that included Silver, drummer Walter Bolden, and bassist Joe Calloway. So impressed was Getz, he hired the whole trio. Silver had been saving his money to move to New York anyway; his hiring by Getz sealed the deal.

Silver worked with Getz for a year, then began to freelance around the city with such big-time players as Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Oscar Pettiford. In 1952, he recorded with Lou Donaldson for the Blue Note label; this date led him to his first recordings as a leader. In 1953, he joined forces with Art Blakey to form a cooperative under their joint leadership. The band's first album, Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers, was a milestone in the development of the genre that came to be known as hard bop. Many of the tunes penned by Silver for that record -- "The Preacher," "Doodlin'," "Room 608" -- became jazz classics. By 1956, Silver had left the Messengers to record on his own. The series of Blue Note albums that followed established him for all time as one of jazz's major composer/pianists. LPs like Blowin' the Blues Away and Song for My Father (both recorded by an ensemble that included Silver's longtime sidemen Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook) featured Silver's harmonically sophisticated and formally distinctive compositions for small jazz ensemble.

Silver's piano style -- terse, imaginative, and utterly funky -- became a model for subsequent mainstream pianists to emulate. Some of the most influential horn players of the '50s, '60s, and '70s first attained a measure of prominence with Silver -- musicians like Donald Byrd, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Benny Golson, and the Brecker Brothers all played in Silver's band at a point early in their careers. Silver has even affected members of the avant-garde; Cecil Taylor confesses a Silver influence, and trumpeter Dave Douglas played briefly in a Silver combo.

Silver recorded exclusively for Blue Note until that label's eclipse in the late '70s, whereupon he started his own label, Silveto. Silver's '80s work was poorly distributed. During that time he began writing lyrics to his compositions, and his work began to display a concern with music's metaphysical powers, as exemplified by album titles like Music to Ease Your Disease and Spiritualizing the Senses. In the '90s, Silver abandoned his label venture and began recording for Columbia. With his re-emergence on a major label, Silver once again received a measure of the attention his contributions deserve. Certainly, no one ever contributed a larger and more vital body of original compositions to the jazz canon. Silver died in New York on June 18, 2014 at the age of 85. ~ Chris Kelsey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Live At Newport '58

x

Track List: The Hardbop Grandpop

1. I Want You

2. The Hippest Cat In Hollywood

3. Gratitude

4. Hawkin'

7. The Hardbop Grandpop

8. The Lady From Johannesburg

9. Serenade To A Teakettle

10. Diggin' On Dexter

x

Track List: You Gotta Take A Little Love

1. You Gotta Take A Little Love

2. The Risin' Sun

3. It's Time

4. Lovely's Daughter

5. Down And Out

7. Brain Wave

x

Track List: The Cape Verdean Blues

1. The Cape Verdean Blues

2. The African Queen

x

Track List: Song For My Father

1. Song For My Father

2. The Natives Are Restless Tonight

4. Que Pasa?

5. The Kicker

7. Sanctimonious Sam

8. Que Pasa? (Trio Version)

9. Sighin' And Cryin'

10. Silver Treads Among My Soul

x

Track List: The Tokyo Blues

1. Too Much Sake

3. The Tokyo Blues

4. Cherry Blossom

5. Ah! So

x

Track List: Finger Poppin'

1. Finger Poppin'

2. Juicy Lucy

3. Swingin' The Samba

4. Sweet Stuff

5. Cookin' At The Continental

6. Come On Home

7. You Happened My Way

8. Mellow D

x

Track List: Blowin' The Blues Away

1. Blowin' The Blues Away

2. The St. Vitus Dance

3. Break City

4. Peace

5. Sister Sadie

6. The Baghdad Blues

7. Melancholy Mood

8. How Did It Happen

x

Track List: Six Pieces Of Silver (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition Remastered)

1. Cool Eyes

2. Shirl

3. Camouflage

4. Enchantment

5. Senor Blues

6. Virgo

7. For Heaven's Sake

8. Senor Blues (Alternate Take)

9. Tippin'

10. Senor Blues (Vocal Version)

x

Track List: Silver's Blue

1. Silver's Blue

2. To Beat Or Not To Beat

3. How Long Has This Been Going On?

4. I'll Know

5. Shoutin' Out

6. Hank's Tune

7. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

x

Track List: Horace Silver And The Jazz Messengers (Remasterd)

x

Track List: Horace Silver And The Jazz Messengers

x

Track List: Horace-Scope

1. Strollin'

2. Where You At?

3. Without You

4. Horace-Scope

5. Yeah!

6. Me And My Baby

7. Nica's Dream

x

Track List: The Stylings Of Silver / Six Pieces Of Silver

Disc 1

1. No Smokin'

2. The Back Beat

3. Soulville

4. Home Cookin'

5. Metamorphosis

6. My One And Only Love

Disc 2

1. Cool Eyes

2. Shirl

3. Camouflage

4. Enchantment

5. Senor Blues

6. Virgo

7. For Heaven's Sake

9. Tippin'

10. Senor Blues (Vocal Version)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
jls313
As a lover of jazz standards I often shy away from the more recent players original compositions . But there is absolutely nothing that Horace Silver composed that I don't truly love. He had a magic ability that is unsurpassed to compose a great melodic line and carry it through with the hard bob style.

God bless him and may he rest in peace.
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Is that Art Blakey playing drums on this track? His style is unmistakable ; it's got to be him or someone who was influenced by his style. Horace is certainly a class act; a true giant who had a significant impact on the coarse of jazz even to this day.
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Camille Jordan what a beautiful thing you had to say about Horace Silver and you're absolutely on the ball I'm eating years old and I love the movie since I was in my teens right on
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ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, SOMEONE TURNED ME ON TO HORACE SILVER AND I IMMEDIATELY FELL IN LOVE WITH HIS STYLE, MUSIC AND HIS PASSION FOR THE PIANO....... . . . . A FEW MONTHS LATER....... H E PASSED AWAY........ . . . A N D I TELL U..... I WAS VERY EMOTIONAL... . . . . JAZZ LEGENDS..... . . HAVE LEFT LEGACIES AND IT IS UP TO JAZZ LOVERS, HISTORIANS AND SCHOLARS LIKE MYSELF TO CONTINUE TEACHING AND SUSTAINING THIS TRADITION... . . . . . . WHICH IS INDEED A PART OF BLACK CULTURE IN AMERICA..... . T H A N K YOU MR. SILVER
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Hello out there !!! Jazz is and always be nice to the ears yes ?.
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Great musician, glad had opportunity to enjoy his music.
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dyj54
RIP thanks for the music
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linksgayaren a
From the Fleetwood so cool Horace
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One of my primary hard bop influences, and a favorite composer. One of the pillars of hard bop, he influenced everyone who listened to him. Thanks for everything, Horace.
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Rest in peace
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Horace practices what he preaches from music to organic food. Long life.
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what a lovely soul was horace silver, and so encouraging to his sidemen always. He'd sweat thru a suit every set and change clothes before the next one. I think he became more percussive later on due to limitations of some arthritis diminishing his hands maneuverabil i t y . every combination of musicians he came on stage with seemed to fashion finely. how funny and funky he was from Blakey on...
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Wonderfully full and funky
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What a cool session at the Village Gate & Blue Mitchell's horn outstanding
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Dont read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on atleast 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lover's name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works!
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sstjohn88
this song... for daaaaays...
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Silver is the shilizit!
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I LOVE THIS SOOONNG!!!!
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Horace played an afternoon show at Suffolk community college in 75 or 76 with the Brecker Bros. No way to describe it. Very giving. An experience.
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A true giant of the american jazz in it's infancy.
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sampay310
awesome love
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scottspinola
I'm very proud to share a home town with Mr. Silver: Norwalk, CT.
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Wait til'u hear it!
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Silver n voices
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aldersonw
Horace is the world jazz god......lon g e v i t y and creative spirit, unbelievable ! Look at the great cats he brought up....surrou n d e d by the best. His music is truly a blessing.
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A fellow capeverdean that got me to love jazz even more. I don't have a favorite album of Horace, I love them all!
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The most consistantly innovative artist of our time, we still have not caught up to United States of Mind I II III
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Silver and other musicians like Thelonius Monk were big influences on the Dan. Donald Fagen has acknowledged that SD lifted the Rikki bass line from Song For My Father.
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cantbuyathri l l 1 2
The intro reminds me of Rikki Don't Lose That Number by Steely Dan. I would assume they were inspired by this awesomeness as well.
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and snap
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dig
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People ask me why I listen to jazz, and I tell them...becau s e I don't like people telling me what to do through my music. Especially if it aint what I want to hear...So you "throw ya hands up" "get down" and whatever they tell you to do...cause I aint doin it
Report as inappropriate
"Sophisticat e d Hippy" is ma jam...And whenever he Lee, and Andy Bey got toghether it was excelent. You can put all of Silver's albums in the jammer and let it all play out!!!
Report as inappropriate
Without a doubt one of my favorite jazz musicians. My introduction to Horace Silver was the classic album Blowin' the Blues Away. Listening to it I was blown away and have been hooked on Horace Silver's music ever since. I am just amazed whenever I listen to him. What a talent!
Report as inappropriate
jharriss8
Horace Silver is the man - if you like"Song for my Father" - check out Leon Thomas's vocal rendition... . .
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onecomdiver
Aw man so good to connect again an American Jazz Treasure.
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Forgot how good it sounded.
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WOW .
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Horace is the founder of what would later be called acid jazz if you ask me. I hope I get to see him again before he passes.
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I agree with Rebecca Williams totally. It is so relaxing and romantic.
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royaltee005
Please excuse my ignorance in not knowing alot of these great artist, however,I greatly appreciate the old school jazz sound. It creates an atmosphere of pure elegance in its presentation .
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One of the first Jazz artists, along with Bobby Timmons and Ray Bryant, to define the sound of "Soul Jazz".
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Just before jazz jumped off a cliff and killed itself..
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Where is his "United States of Mind" series with Andy Bey and the Bey Sisters?
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One of my favorite artist of all time. Just check out the full length version of "Song for My Father".
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The album Tokyo Blues is my favorite with Junior Cook on tenor and Blue Mitchell on trumpet. Dig it.
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Smoooov...
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shockerincri m e
What about 'In Pursuit of the 27th Man'?
Report as inappropriate
What about the album "FIVE PIECES OF SILVER" ? This album really exposed him to the public. It may be his first under his leadership, but I'm not certain. Any help here??
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The most original and distinctive sound in be-bop!

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