Horace Silver / Sept 2, 1928 - June 18, 2014

Happy birthday to that great hard bop pianist Horace Silver! He was of Cape Verdean heritage but grew up in Connecticut. He studied classical music as well as taking in the music of Cabo Verde that his father taught him. As a teenager he gigged on both piano and tenor sax.

After playing with Stan Getz in Hartford in '50 he went on tour with him. He moved to NYC in '51 and started playing with Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Lou Donaldson. In '52 he began working for Blue Note Records, as a session pianist and as a recording artist. He recorded with Howard McGhee, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Art Farmer and many more. He was a founding member of the Jazz Messengers and stayed with them til he formed his Quintet in '56. His playing got bluesier and funkier, with a style that helped pioneer soul-jazz.

He became a popular jazz artist, touring Japan in '62 and Brazil in '64 and releasing several tunes that became jukebox hits, the biggest being his smash "Song For My Father". In the '70s & '80s he toured less and released a few commercial albums. In 1980 he founded his labels Silveto and Emerald, to release his spiritual music as well as jazz. In the '90s he returned to major label productions.

In the new millennium he rarely made appearances due to Alzheimer's. After a long and distinguished career in which he greatly influenced not just jazz piano players but perhaps popular music, he died in 2014. He brought bop, gospel, R&B, Latin, ballads, folk music and funky vamps into his style, one of "meaningful simplicity".

Tagged: blues, Cabo Verde, Celebrate Icons, Horace Silver, jazz, piano, soul!, soul/funk, Video, vintage footage

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