Horace Silver Dead: Jazz Pianist Dies at 85Posted: June 19, 2014
“He not only defined the first steps in the style, he wrote several of its most durable staples, ran bands that embodied and transcended the idiom and perfected a piano manner which summed up hard bop’s wit and trenchancy and popular appeal.”
For Variety, Steve Chagollan writes: Jazz pianist Horace Silver, synonymous with Blue Note Records when hard bop — a style he helped pioneer — became the label’s bread and butter, died at age 85 of natural causes at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. His son Gregory confirmed the pianist’s death to several news outlets.
Silver, whose association with Blue Note spanned a quarter decade, produced a number of hits for the label beginning in 1955 with “Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers,” a group that would continue under the leadership of co-founder Art Blakey when Silver split off on his own and crafted an amazingly diverse solo career that mixed jazz, blues, gospel and Latin influences.
Signature works like “The Preacher” and “Song for My Father,” the title track from Silver’s 1965 album, would help steer jazz into into a more soulful, less doctrinaire direction — a style also reflected by many young jazzmen of the day, including Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderley and Ramsey Lewis.
If he helped shape hard bop, Silver also contributed to its being embraced by a wider audience. “He not only defined the first steps in the style,” wrote Richard Cook and Brian Morton in “The Penguin Guide to Jazz,” “he wrote several of its most durable staples, ran bands that embodied and transcended the idiom and perfected a piano manner which summed up hard bop’s wit and trenchancy and popular appeal.”
“Señor Blues,” a late 50s classic written in 6/8 time with a Latin beat, acted as a kind of counterweight to the popular West Coast jazz of the day, and epitomized Silver’s diversity as a composer and player, as well as an East Coast approach to the form that was more muscular and blues-based…(read more)