Horace Silver, September 2, 1928 - June 18, 2014

The Blue Note Years 1961-69 [2/3]

75 years ago Blue Note Records was started by two German immigrants who loved jazz and believed that the music should be heard and preserved. Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff collaborated and built the Blue Note vault of music that included the artistry of immortals: Miles Davis, Sonny Clark, Sidney Bechet, Clifford Brown, Art Blakey, The Jazz Messengers, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, and Horace Silver.

Silver stayed with Blue Note Records for 28 years until the label was sold to Columbia Records and Lion retired to Cuernavaca, Mexico. In his autobiography, Let’s Get Down To the Nitty Gritty, Silver had this to say about his bosses: “I always had a good relationship with Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, co-founders and directors of Blue Note Records. They liked me, and they liked my music and my writing. I never had to fight to get any of my compositions recorded.”

Throughout those Blue Note years, Silver wrote many themed compositions, including Portuguese, African, Soul, Mexican, Japanese, Nitty Gritty-Hard Bop, Indian Metaphysics, Native American Indian, Silver N’ Strings, Silver N’ Wood, Silver N’ Voices, Silver N’ Brass and Silver N’ Percussion. Some of this exquisite music was found on an early album as a leader, Six Pieces of Silver (1956) including “Señor Blues,” which later had lyrics sung by master vocalist Bill Henderson. Silver’s early quintet was composed of Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, Doug Watkins and Hank Mobley; “Come On Home,” “Doodlin,” “The Preacher,” “Serenade to a Soul Sister,” “Filthy McNasty,” “The Gringo,” “Mexican Hat Dance,” “Tokyo Blues,” “The United States of Mind—The Healin’ Feelin” and “The Cape Verdean Blues” are all milestones that Silver says, thanks to God, have brought him lucrative royalties from their recordings by musicians throughout the years.

There are some great musicians who had their start with Silver, including as Lou Donaldson, Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, Blue Mitchell, Junior Cook, Carmell Jones, Doug Watkins, Randy and Michael Brecker, Willie Jones, III and Ralph Moore. He’s also had some great guest musicians—J.J. Johnson, Stanley Turrentine, Andy Bey, Ocie Smith, Eddie Harris, Roger Humphries, Roy Brooks and Joe Henderson.

1961: Doin’ the Thing

1962: The Tokyo Blues

1963: Silver’s Serenade

1965: Song for My Father

1965: The Cape Verdean Blues

1966: The Jody Grind

1968: Serenade to a Soul Sister

1969: You Gotta Take a Little Love

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