Song For My Father, Again
I’ve told this story in broader strokes, but I have these very etched and very early memories of sitting in the living room of our very small garden apartment in Bayside, Queens, where we literally had plastic wrap covering the sofa and chairs, and hearing the sounds of Horace Silver coming from my father’s Fisher hi-fi console. My father was a big jazz fan and Silver was probably his favorite musician. He would play the Blue Note albums Blowin’ the Blues Away and Song For My Father constantly, and in my head I can still clearly picture him tapping his feet and taking a drag on his cigarette and taking a hearty sip of whatever alcoholic beverage he had concocted for himself. So when I got into jazz, the music of Horace Silver was already familiar to me and, like my dad, I loved it as well. There was an infectious joy in Horace Silver’s music and it always seemed as if he and all of the musicians were having a blast, loving what they were doing, and inspiring one another to higher levels of creativity. I also realized later on that Horace Silver was not just a great bandleader and composer, he was also a great pianist, one of the true greats of the post-bop era.
He doesn’t often get the due of a Bud Powell, but go back to some of those early Jazz Messenger albums or, really any of his work, and listen. He had the rare ability to take what was extremely complicated and make it sound simple. He also was a fantastic accompanist. My dad was a contemporary of Silver, and it’s been more than 15 years since he passed away, but in a way the passing of Silver yesterday is like saying goodbye again. So, goodbye to Horace and thank you for the music and the joy and the ongoing and never-ending connection to my own father. It was certainly no coincidence when I wrote about my dad and me I titled the article Song For My Father.