Whenever friends curious about jazz ask me to recommend a track to introduce them to the genre I tend to go for Miles Davis ‘So What’ or “Blue in Green”, Herbie Hancock’s ‘Maiden Voyage” or John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things”. Another suggestion would be “Song for my Father‘ by the great pianist and composer Horace Silver who passed on recently with little notice.
Silver’s music became a staple of my understanding and appreciation of jazz. Especially the jazz music from the 1950s through to the 1970s. His output was on the Blue Note label [famous both for the music & album covers ] was prolific whether as a sideman or leader. With tracks such as Senor Blues, Lonely Woman and Cape Verdean Blues Silver provided jazz tracks that -for a novice like me – was easy on the ears. In 1953 composed “Opus De Funk” which some experts say was one of the first times the word funk was used in music.
I came to jazz music in 1990 after watching a Miles Davis documentary. Jazz is not everyone’s cup of tea. But just like taxes whether we like it or not it is a part of our lives.. Jazz is important from a musical and sociological stand point.
Before 1990 I used to “dislike” jazz. Or so I felt. That was down to pure ignorance. Because I did love Dave Brubecks “Take Five” the film/tv scores of Lalo Schifrin (“Bullitt”, “Charley Varrick”) and Quincy Jones (“Ironside”).
Silver has worked with most of jazz greats including Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers, Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey. A major figure in the history of 20th century music.