Horace Silver: Song for My Father

2 Sep

Horace Silver

Horace Silver's album Blowin' the Blues Away, originally released in 1959

Birthday greetings to pianist Horace Silver, born Horace Ward Mann Tavares Silver, who celebrates No. 83 today.

Silver called his 2006 autobiography Let’s Get to the Nitty Gritty. In that spirit, let’s get to it: Silver has been writing, playing and performing wonderful music for more than 60 years.

“Basically my influences have been American influences. It’s been blues, gospel, swing era music, bebop music, Broadway show music, classical music,” Silver told Fred Jung in a 1999 interview at allaboutjazz.com.

American, too, in the sense that in a country of immigrants, Silver’s father was one, of Portuguese descent from the Cape Verde Islands. The islands give us more than hurricanes — they helped give us Silver’s tribute to his father (link below). In turn,  Song For My Father’s music was used, according to Wikipedia, in songs by Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire.

“In music, if we do not create a balance between melody, harmony and rhythm we produce a distorted piece of music,” Silver wrote on the liner notes to 1980’s The Music of the Spheres. “We produce distorted lives if we do not create a balance between learning the melodies of spiritual principles and implementing them through our thoughts and deeds that they may produce rhythmic positivity through our bodies and outer conditions.”

Which, allowing for some improvisation, brings us back to Song For My Father.

Sources: wikipedia.org, bittersuiteband.com, allaboutjazz.com


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