Personalities | Horace Silver | Fifties | Jazz & Blues

(Piano, b. 1928)

Horace Silver stands with Art Blakey as the progenitor of the earthier development of bebop, known as hard bop. His Hartford-based trio was hired by Stan Getz in 1950 and he moved to New York the following year. He began recording for Blue Note in 1952, a relationship that would last for 28 years. He formed a band with Art Blakey that became the latter’s Jazz Messengers when the pianist left in 1956.

Like the Jazz Messengers, Silver’s quintets became a nursery for new talent as well as a vehicle for his own compositions; many of his tunes became part of the standard jazz repertoire. He incorporated the influence of his father’s native Cape Verdean folk music, most famously on ‘Song For My Father’. His more experimental music of the 1970s was less well-received, but he returned to hard bop from the early 1980s and remains a successful artist, although increasingly hampered by arthritis.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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