Horace Silver was a remarkable jazz pianist and composer whose was influenced by a range of musical styles including African music, Latin American music and gospel music. He pioneered the hard bop style which merged both gospel and rhythm and blues musical elements with jazz. It was Silver’s unique style that became a major influence in modern jazz. His earliest influence was Portuguese folk music, however, he later drew most of his inspiration from blues singers, boogie-woogie and bop pianists.
Silver played both the saxophone and piano when in his teens. His playing styles of both instruments were influenced by saxophonist Lester Young and pianist Bud Powell, which were later emulated by mainstream pianists. During his performances he was discovered by saxophonist Stan Getz who later hired Silver and his band to tour with him. It was during this time with Getz that three of Silver’s compositions were recorded. Eventually, he signed up with Blue Note label and formed a group called The Jazz Messengers.
He exclusively recorded for Blue Note producing hits like “The Preacher”, and “Doodlin’”. He also featured a lot of rising jazz starts in his bands such as Junior Cook, Blue Mitchel and Louis Hayes. Key albums that he produced with his band include “6 Pieces of Silver”,” Horace Silver Trio” and “Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers”.
Throughout his musical career, Silver produced numerous albums, however, the album “Song for my Father”, which he produced with his new quintet featuring Joe Henderson and Carmel Jones became an all-time hit. Some of his albums also featured interesting musicians such as Randy Brecker. Silver’s compositions became increasingly popular due to their catchy tunes and strong harmonics as his his band progressively changed to funk and soul. Silver became a musical force and a great influence to pianists like Bobby Timmons and Ramsey Lewis.