Norwalk Native Horace Silver, 85, Influential Jazz Pianist

The late Jazz legend Horace Silver, was born as Horace Silva in Norwalk, where he first became entranced with Jazz. His mother was from New Canaan.

The late Jazz Pianist Horace Silver in 1988 by Dimitri Savitski on Wikimedia Commons
The late Jazz Pianist Horace Silver in 1988 by Dimitri Savitski on Wikimedia Commons
Horace Silver, an influential jazz pianist born in 1928 in Norwalk, died Wednesday morning at his home in New Rochelle, NY, according to a report on National Public Radio.

Silver "created a rhythmic jazz known as 'hard bop' that combined R&B and gospel to go along with his eclectic style of piano playing," according to NPR.

He grew up in Norwalk, where one of the turning points of his life took place at age 11, when he and his father came upon a swing band led by Jimmie Lunceford. According to NPR:

"And I saw all these black guys getting out of the bus with their instruments, and I said, 'Dad, can we stay and just hear them play one number? Just one number,'" he told NPR in 1996. "'No, you gotta go to school in the morning, gotta get up early.' ... I begged and pleaded, begged and pleaded, so he's, 'OK, one number.'"

After that, Silver told NPR, he was hooked on jazz. In the 1950s, he met up with saxophonist Stan Getz, who hired him. Silver went on to become a house pianist for Blue Note Records,

Silver's autobiography, Let’s Get To The Nitty Gritty, was published in 2006.

According to an article on the Ottawa Citizen's website, Silver's "bossa-style piece Song For My Father might be Silver’s signature piece — its introduction was borrowed by Steely Dan for Rikki Don’t Lose That Number."

It was written for the man who allowed Silver to listen to three Jazz pieces that day when he was 11 years old.

Here's Horace Silver's official website, with some of his music.


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