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AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS

BOYS CHOIR AFRICA SHIRTS
 
 
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PITTSBURGH JAZZ

 

From Blakey to Brown, Como to Costa, Eckstine to Eldridge, Galbraith to Garner, Harris to Hines, Horne to Hyman, Jamal to Jefferson, Kelly to Klook; Mancini to Marmarosa, May to Mitchell, Negri to Nestico, Parlan to Ponder, Reed to Ruther, Strayhorn to Sullivan, Turk to Turrentine, Wade to Williams… the forthcoming publication Treasury of Pittsburgh Jazz Connections by Dr. Nelson Harrison and Dr. Ralph Proctor, Jr. will document the legacy of one of the world’s greatest jazz capitals.

 

Do you want to know who Dizzy Gillespie  idolized? Did you ever wonder who inspired Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey? Who was the pianist that mentored Monk, Bud Powell, Tad Dameron, Elmo Hope, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme? Who was Art Tatum’s idol and Nat Cole’s mentor? What musical quartet pioneered the concept adopted later by the Modern Jazz Quartet? Were you ever curious to know who taught saxophone to Stanley Turrentine or who taught piano to Ahmad Jamal? What community music school trained Robert McFerrin, Sr. for his history-making debut with the Metropolitan Opera? What virtually unknown pianist was a significant influence on young John Coltrane, Shirley Scott, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Timmons and Ray Bryant when he moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh in the 1940s?  Would you be surprised to know that Erroll Garner attended classes at the Julliard School of Music in New York and was at the top of his class in writing and arranging proficiency?

 

Some answers  can be gleaned from the postings on the Pittsburgh Jazz Network.

 

For almost 100 years the Pittsburgh region has been a metacenter of jazz originality that is second to no other in the history of jazz.  One of the best kept secrets in jazz folklore, the Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy has heretofore remained mythical.  We have dubbed it “the greatest story never told” since it has not been represented in writing before now in such a way as to be accessible to anyone seeking to know more about it.  When it was happening, little did we know how priceless the memories would become when the times were gone.

 

Today jazz is still king in Pittsburgh, with events, performances and activities happening all the time. The Pittsburgh Jazz Network is dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the places, artists and fans that carry on the legacy of Pittsburgh's jazz heritage.

 

WELCOME!

 

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Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin

    MARY LOU WILLIAMS     

            INTERVIEW

       In Her Own Words
Photo
Horace Silver in 1997. Credit Alan Nahigian
Horace Silver, a pianist, composer and bandleader who was one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of the 1950s and ’60s, died on Wednesday at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 85.
His death was announced by Blue Note Records, the company for which he recorded from 1952 to 1979.
After a high-profile apprenticeship with some of the biggest names in jazz, Mr. Silver began leading his own group in the mid-1950s and quickly became a big name himself, celebrated for his clever compositions and his infectious, bluesy playing. At a time when the refined, quiet and, to some, bloodless style known as cool jazz was all the rage, he was hailed as a leader of the back-to-basics movement that came to be called hard bop.
Hard bop and cool jazz shared a pedigree: They were both variations on bebop, the challenging, harmonically intricate music that changed the face of jazz in the 1940s. But hard bop was simpler and more rhythmically driven, with more emphasis on jazz’s blues and gospel roots. The jazz press tended to portray the adherents of cool jazz (most of them West Coast-based and white) and hard bop (most of them East Coast-based and black) as warring factions. But Mr. Silver made an unlikely warrior.

Photo

His albums included “Song for My Father,” which featured his father on the cover. Credit Blue Note Records

“I personally do not believe in politics, hatred or anger in my musical composition,” he wrote in the liner notes to his album “Serenade to a Soul Sister” in 1968. “Musical composition should bring happiness and joy to people and make them forget their troubles.”
And Mr. Silver’s music was never as one-dimensional as it was sometimes portrayed as being. In an interview early in his career he said he was aiming for “that old-time gutbucket barroom feeling with just a taste of the backbeat.” That approach was reflected in the titles he gave to songs, like “Sister Sadie,”“Filthy McNasty” and “The Preacher,” all of which became jazz standards. But his output also included gently melodic numbers like “Peace” and “Melancholy Mood” and Latin-inflected tunes like “Señor Blues.” “Song for My Father,” probably his best-known composition, blended elements of bossa nova and the Afro-Portuguese music of the Cape Verde islands, where his father was born.
His piano playing, like his compositions, was not that easily characterized. Deftly improvising ingenious figures with his right hand while punching out rumbling bass lines with his left, he managed to evoke boogie-woogie pianists like Meade Lux Lewis and beboppers like Bud Powell simultaneously. Unlike many bebop pianists, however, Mr. Silver emphasized melodic simplicity over harmonic complexity; his improvisations, while sophisticated, were never so intricate as to be inaccessible.
Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silver was born on Sept. 2, 1928, in Norwalk, Conn. His father, who was born John Silva but changed the family name to the more American-sounding Silver after immigrating to the United States, worked in a rubber factory. His mother, Gertrude, was a maid and sang in a church choir.
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Although he studied piano as a child, Mr. Silver began his professional career as a saxophonist. But he had returned to the piano, and was becoming well known as a jazz pianist in Connecticut, by the time the saxophonist Stan Getz — soon to be celebrated as one of the leading lights of the cool school — heard and hired him in 1950.
“I had the house rhythm section at a club called the Sundown in Hartford,” Mr. Silver told The New York Times in 1981. “Stan Getz came up and played with us. He said he was going to call us, but we didn’t take him seriously. But a couple of weeks later he called and said he wanted the whole trio to join him.”
Mr. Silver worked briefly with Getz before moving to New York in 1951. He was soon in demand as an accompanist, working with leading jazz musicians like the saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. In 1953, Mr. Silver and the drummer Art Blakey formed a cooperative group, the Jazz Messengers, whose aggressive style helped define hard bop and whose lineup of trumpet, tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums became the standard hard-bop instrumentation.
After two and a half years, during which Mr. Silver began his long and prolific association with Blue Note, he left the Jazz Messengers, which carried on with Blakey as the sole leader, and formed his own quintet. It became a showcase for his compositions.

Photo

 

Another album by Mr. Silver is “Further Explorations by the Horace Silver Quintet.” Credit Blue Note Records

Those compositions, beginning with “The Preacher” in 1955 — which his producer, Alfred Lion of Blue Note, had tried to discourage him from recording because he considered it too simplistic — captured the ears of a wide audience. Many were released as singles and garnered significant jukebox play. By the early ’60s Mr. Silver’s quintet was one of the most popular nightclub and concert attractions in jazz, and an inspiration for countless other bandleaders.
Like Blakey, Miles Davis (with whom he recorded) and a few others, Mr. Silver was known for discovering and nurturing young talent, including the saxophonists Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson and Michael Brecker; the trumpeters Art Farmer, Woody Shaw, Tom Harrell and Dave Douglas; and the drummers Louis Hayes and Billy Cobham. His longest-lived ensemble, which lasted about five years in the late 1950s and early ’60s, featured Blue Mitchell on trumpet and Junior Cook on tenor saxophone.
As interest in jazz declined in the ’70s, Mr. Silver disbanded his quintet and began concentrating on writing lyrics as well as music, notably on a three-album series called “The United States of Mind,” his first album to feature vocalists extensively. He later resumed touring, but only for a few months each year, essentially assembling a new group each time he went on the road.
“I’m shooting for longevity,” he explained. “The road is hard on your body. I’m trying to get it all over with in four months and then recoup.” He said he also wanted to spend more time with his son, Gregory, who survives him.
In 1981, Mr. Silver formed his own label, Silveto. His recordings for that label featured vocalists and were largely devoted to what he called “self-help holistic metaphysical music” — life lessons in song with titles like “Reaching Our Goals in Life” and “Don’t Dwell on Your Problems” that left critics for the most part unimpressed.
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Jon Pareles of The Times wrote in 1986 that Mr. Silver’s “naïvely mystical lyrics” made his new compositions sound like “near-miss pop songs.” On later albums for Columbia, Impulse and Verve, Mr. Silver returned to a primarily instrumental approach.
Mr. Silver was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 1995 and received a President’s Merit Award from the Recording Academy in 2005.
Many of his tunes became staples of the jazz repertoire — a development, he said, that surprised him. “When I wrote them,” he said in a 2003 interview for the website All About Jazz, “I would say to myself that I hope these at least withstand the test of time. I hope they don’t sound old in 10 years or something.”
Rather than sounding dated, his compositions continued to be widely performed and recorded well into the 21st century. And while he acknowledged that “occasionally I hear an interpretation of one of my tunes that I say that they sure messed that one up,” he admitted, “For the most part I enjoy all of it.”

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God rest his sweet soul.

Lyrical tribute to Horace Silver

EL HORACE

Re: Philips Minigroove B -07175L/Columbia/Legacy CK 65265

Can be recited or sung to "Ecaroh" by Horace Silver, Ecaroh Music, Inc. - ASCAP

Lyrics by Nelson E. Harrison, Timeslice Music - ASCAP

[412-441-4545] / cybraxis@verizon.net

 

 

Saw… a cryptic message written in the skies…

Pulled… my mirror out and much to my surprise…

I discovered Horace…

The silver lining in the clouds was him, of course…

If I were looking from above… in a plane…

I would see… the way… the clouds spelled out his name…

Silver Threads Among My Soul remain.

 

Since… that day I've never ever been the same…

Silver music helped me be what I became…

Years have come and gone…

But in my brain his melodies still linger on…

He gave me more than he could know… Helped me grow…

Through my life… his songs… have been my private theme…

Now… it's time… he learned of my esteem…. for him.

 

In the song of Peace it must have been Horace…

Times When You're in Love it could have been Horace…

Stars of jazz who sprinkled Silver dust on clouds would make it rain…

 Right into my ears…

Lou and Clifford were the first that I heard…

Hank and Kenny later gave me the word…

Buh and Horace were the Messengers that brought the news to me.

 

(Bridge)

If it weren't for Horace, I'd be Sighin' and Cryin'

A Melancholy Mood implying

Maybe if it weren't for Horace… Me and My Baby

Never would have found our love.

 

His Que Pasa? helped me know what to say…

Little Mama when You Happened My Way

Lady Luck was in my Horace-Scope when Moon Rays shined on me.

[Solos}

[Out Chorus]

 

Horace… has played inside my mind throughout the years…

What… a treat for him to grace my eager ears…

Once we even met…  It was a thrill for me I never will forget…

He played in Pittsburgh at the Grill… several times…

We were there… each night… we could scrape up the dimes…

Trip---ping 'cause… his sounds were so sublime.

 

We… were students at the university…

Still El Horace gave us more than a degree…

Horace gave us hope…

His melodies gave us the strength so we could cope…

With all the hardships of the day… Life was grand…

We all knew… when we… saw Horace Silver's band…

Roger Humphries might be on the stand… Perhaps

 

Joe and Carmell would be blowing their horns…

Restless natives from the day they were born…

When they played before a Lonely Woman, they would cheer her up…

Fill her empty cup…

Larry Ridley or Bob Cranshaw on bass…

Either one could knock your wig out of place…

Woody Shaw or Teddy Smith could feed you tasty licks to sup.

 

(Bridge)

If it weren't for Horace, I would still be in Nutville

Instead he led me straight to Soulville

Surely if it weren't for Horace… and Andy Bey,

I'd never know It's Got To Be …

 

Funky music that I hear every day…

Blue and Junior Blowin' the Blues Away

Dufus Rufus Put Me in the Basement…  Taught me to get down…

Thank you for the sounds… you brought to my town…  El Horace

 

 

Author Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Nelson E. Harrison, ASCAP PAu 2-413-092

 All rights Reserved without Prejudice

Article 1 Constitution of the United States and 1-207 U.C.C.

Most beautiful photo I've ever seen. Thank you for sharing, my vsf.

This is the Song for My Father recording group with Roger Humphries - drums, Joe Henderson - tenor Teddy Smith - bass and Carmell Jones - trumpet that played at the Crawford Grill in 1964 with Horace.


Memorial Services will be held on:

Date:  Monday, July 7, 2014

Location:  St. Agustine of Hippo, Espiscopal Church
                 290 Henry Street
                 Manhattan, NY 10002
                 Phone: 212-673-5300




Time: 7 PM


Horace Silver Foundation
20 Emerson Point
New Rochelle, NY 10801



Attire: Casual Wear

 

     Thanks for all his good tunes. He had a good life. So many of our generation's notables are dying. Take time to learn the real earthly hope for the "real life" to come soon. I look forward  to seeing "Louis Armstrong's 'good-ole good ones' (re his Ambassador Sax recording)". (See Bible at Revelation 21:1-5). As a musician and Jazz Fanatic, I am studying guitar and look to play with all the "musicians in the house" in that future time. In the meantime, I will try to get out more to our city's Jazz venues. See you there! (Enjoyed Bpeps @ the Wyndham this year, a best kept secret from me for 7 yrs). A good time was had by all, May all of us be blessed with peace and love.

Memories of Horace Silver

More thoughts on influential composer and bandleader Horace Silver poured in over the past two weeks. The Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, on whose Music Advisory Board Silver served, called him a "champion of new music."

"Horace was one of the SJO's founding Music Advisory Board members and helped get the fledgling organization on its feet 13 years ago," the SJO stated. "He was a tremendous advocate of new talent, not just for the SJO but through the course of his historic career."

At the New Music Box blog, trumpet player John McNeil wrote a moving remembrance of his time with Silver, painting the picture of a respected leader who valued detail work and rehearsal. "Respect and musical etiquette were very important to Horace," writes McNeil. "For instance, he was a real stickler for being on time. He said right at the beginning, 'I'll never ask you cats to work one extra minute without getting paid for it. In return, when it's time to start, you have to be onstage ready to play. Start on time, end on time, period. If you're late, it's twenty-five bucks.' This was still the 1970s, don't forget; twenty-five bucks was significant."

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