Horace Silver, top US jazz musician, dies
- 19 June 2014
- From the section US & Canada
One of the most highly regarded pianists and composers in jazz, Horace Silver, has died aged 85 in the US.
He was one of the pioneers of a rhythmic jazz style known as hard bop.
Silver began his career as a tenor saxophonist in clubs in Connecticut. But after he moved to New York in the 1950s, he switched to piano and began performing at the Blue Note Jazz Club.
Many of his compositions became jazz standards, including Sister Sadie, The Preacher and Filthy McNasty.
His family came from Cape Verde, and Silver was influenced by the folk music from the Portuguese-speaking islands off of Africa.
Tributes to Horace Silver
Stanley Clarke, bass player, tweets: "I enjoyed so much the time that I spent with Horace Silver.... He was the greatest bandleader.... On to higher places Horace!!!!!!!"
Presenter Jez Nelson of BBC Radio 3's Jazz on 3 tweets: "RIP Horace Silver. A sweet man and a great writer. One of my first ever jazz interviews. 1984? Backstage at Ronnie's"
"He was not only prolific, he was a unique composer," said Phil Pastras, editor of Silver's 2006 book, Let's Get to the Nitty Gritty, told the Chicago Tribune. "Even an ordinary 12-bar blues in his hands turned into something magical."
One of his earliest musical influence was his father, who played multiple instruments, including the violin, guitar and mandolin, according to NPR.
His first album is regarded as a milestone in the development of hard bop - a style Silver continued to explore during his 25-year relationship with Blue Note records.
"Silver's piano style - terse, imaginative, and utterly funky - became a model for subsequent mainstream pianists to emulate," said Blue Note in a profile of the artist on its website.
Horace Silver also performed with many jazz greats such as Lester Young, Miles Davis and Art Blakey.
His bands have consistently been a training ground for great soloists, and his sidemen have included a host of subsequently famous names.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s he experimented with larger groups and a different style, but from midway through the 1980s he returned to hard bop, and in the 1990s created some worthy successors to the many classic albums he made during his 28 years at Blue Note.
His piano style has been described as "involving sharply defined, bluesy right hand phrasing, over a grumbling left-hand bass unlike the style of any other player".