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Horace Silver


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Norwalk, New York CT, United States (1928 – 2014)

Horace Silver (September 2, 1928 - June 18, 2014) was an American pianist and composer.
He is known for his distinctive humorous and funky playing style, and for his pioneering contributions to . Silver was influenced by a wide range of musical styles, notably music, African music, and Latin American music. Silver began his career as a saxophonist, but later switched to piano. His playing was highly influenced by the style of Bud Powell.

Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva was born to a Cape Verdean father of mixed Portuguese-black descent and a mother of Irish and African descent in Norwalk, Connecticut.

He was discovered in a Hartford, Connecticut club by saxophonist Stan Getz. He moved to New York, where he teamed with Art Blakey. In 1952 and 1953 he recorded three sessions with his own trio, featuring Blakey on drums and Gene Ramey, Curly Russell and Percy Heath subsequently taking up the bass. The drummer-pianist team lasted for four years; during this time, Silver and Blakey recorded at Birdland (A Night at Birdland, Blue Note) with Clifford Brown and Lou Donaldson, at the Bohemia with Kenny Dorham and Hank Mobley, and finally - in the studios. One of the studio albums was the famous The Jazz Messengers.

During Silver’s time with Blakey he rarely recorded as a leader, but having split with him in 1956, he formed his own hard bop quintet, at first featuring the same lineup as Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, with 18-year-old Louis Hayes subbing for Blakey.


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