Horace Silver – Song for my father

December 1964: Song for My Father by Horace Silver (1928 – 2014) is released.

Song for My Father is an album by The Horace Silver Quintet, released on the Blue Note label. It is his tribute to his dad, who for many years, had suggested that his son arrange and adapt some Cape Verdean folk music to jazz. However, at the time, Silver seemingly found this folk music uninteresting.
When invited by Sergio Mendes in Rio de Janeiro during the Carnival, Silver became fascinated with the bossa nova and the new melodic-rhythmic possibilities inherent in folk music. This trip to Brazil appears to have given Silver the initial inspiration to compose Song for My Father :

« I was very much impressed by the authentic bossa nova beat the real bossa nova feeling, which I’ve tried to incorporate into this number.« 
(1964 – liner notes)

Live in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 1968

« …a 1964 album by the Horace Silver Quintet, released on the Blue Note label. The album was inspired by a trip that Silver had made to Brazil. The cover artwork features a photograph of Silver’s father, John Tavares Silver, to whom the title song was dedicated. « My mother was of Irish and Negro descent, my father of Portuguese origin. He was born on the island of Maio, one of the Cape Verde Islands. » 

~ Horace Silver, quoted in Leonard Feather’s original liner notes

« Jazz is not background music. You must concentrate upon it in order to get the most of it. You must absorb most of it. The harmonies within the music can relax, soothe and uplift the mind when you concentrate upon and absorb it. Jazz music stimulates the minds and uplifts the souls of those who play it was well as of those who listen to immerse themselves in it. As the mind is stimulated and the soul uplifted, this is eventually reflected in the body. »

~ Horace Silver


The cover artwork features a photograph of Silver’s father, John Tavares Silva, to whom the title song was dedicated. « My mother was of Irish and Negro descent, my father of Portuguese origin », Silver recalls in the liner notes, « He was born on the island of Maio, one of the Cape Verde Islands. »


Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5

Horace Silver — piano
Carmell Jones — trumpet
Joe Henderson — tenor saxophone
Teddy Smith — bass
Roger Humphries — drums

Tracks 3, 6-10

Horace Silver — piano
Blue Mitchell — trumpet
Junior Cook — tenor saxophone
Gene Taylor — bass
Roy Brooks — drums


Recorded on October 31, 1963 (#3, 6, 7, 8); January 28, 1964 (#9-10); October 26, 1964 (#1, 2, 4, 5).


One of Blue Note’s greatest mainstream hard bop dates, Song for My Father is Horace Silver’s signature LP and the peak of a discography already studded with classics. Silver was always a master at balancing jumping rhythms with complex harmonies for a unique blend of earthiness and sophistication, and Song for My Father has perhaps the most sophisticated air of all his albums. Part of the reason is the faintly exotic tint that comes from Silver’s flowering fascination with rhythms and modes from overseas — the bossa nova beat of the classic « Song for My Father, » for example, or the Eastern-flavored theme of « Calcutta Cutie, » or the tropical-sounding rhythms of « Que Pasa? » Subtle touches like these alter Silver’s core sound just enough to bring out its hidden class, which is why the album has become such a favorite source of upscale ambience. Song for My Father was actually far less focused in its origins than the typical Silver project; it dates from the period when Silver was disbanding his classic quintet and assembling a new group, and it features performances from both bands (and, on the CD reissue with bonus tracks, three different sessions). Still, it hangs together remarkably well, and Silver’s writing is at its tightest and catchiest. The title cut became Silver’s best-known composition, partly because it provided the musical basis for jazz-rock group Steely Dan’s biggest pop hit « Rikki Don’t Lose That Number. » Another hard bop standard is introduced here in the lone non-Silver tune, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson’s « The Kicker, » covered often for the challenge of its stuttering phrases and intricate rhythms. Yet somehow it comes off as warm and inviting as the rest of the album, which is necessary for all jazz collections — mainstream hard bop rarely comes as good as Song for My Father.

Steve Huey, allmusic


All compositions by Horace Silver, except where noted.

« Song for My Father » – 7:17
« The Natives Are Restless Tonight » – 6:09
« Calcutta Cutie » – 8:31
« Que Pasa » – 7:47
« The Kicker » (Joe Henderson) – 5:26
« Lonely Woman » – 7:02

CD Bonus tracks

« Sanctimonious Sam » (Musa Kaleem) – 3:52
« Que Pasa (Trio Version) » – 5:38
« Sighin’ and Cryin' » – 5:27
« Silver Treads Among My Soul » – 3:50

Music Education

Mas Que Nada

Sérgio Mendes est un pianiste et compositeur brésilien, né en 1941, connu pour sa reprise du titre de Jorge Ben, Mas Que Nada.

Sa carriĂšre commence quand un groupe de musiciens est choisi par le gouvernement pour une tournĂ©e amĂ©ricaine, afin de mieux exporter la musique brĂ©silienne, en plein cƓur de la vague « bossa nova ». Jeune pianiste de Rio passionnĂ© de jazz, fils spirituel d’AntĂŽnio Carlos Jobim, SĂ©rgio Mendes forme Brasil ’65, qui intĂšgre entre autres Jorge Ben, et enregistre deux albums. Pendant son long sĂ©jour aux USA, il collabore avec de nombreux jazzmen, dont Cannonball Adderley.

Suite au succĂšs relatif de ces deux premiers albums, SĂ©rgio Mendes s’installe aux USA et dĂ©veloppe le concept musical qui lui apportera la reconnaissance dans l’industrie musicale : une bossa nova plus pop, trĂšs arrangĂ©e, avec plein d’harmonies vocales.
C’est la naissance de SĂ©rgio Mendes & Brasil ’66 !

Sergio Mendes + Brasil ’66 (Jorge Ben cover)

Les 7 albums suivants s’organisent sur la mĂȘme base artistique : des reprises de standards brĂ©siliens (Agua de beber, Berimbau…), et de hits « pop » (Beatles, Otis Redding, Stan Getz…), rĂ©-arrangĂ©s par SĂ©rgio Mendes.

Au dĂ©but des annĂ©es 70, SĂ©rgio Mendes va changer tant son groupe que son orientation. « Brasil ’77 » est une formation plus large, la musique est plus instrumentale. Il dĂ©laisse le cĂŽtĂ© trĂšs « pop » et revient Ă  ses racines primaires (Primal Roots) avec les percussions des rituels afro-brĂ©siliens.

Playlist – Primal Roots – Brasil ’77

L’album « Timeless » sort en 2006, produit avec Will.I.Am des Black Eyed Peas et plein d’artistes invitĂ©s, pour faire fusionner 2 cultures musicales, celle brĂ©silienne de SĂ©rgio Mendes avec la quintessence urbaine (Hip Hop/Rap) nord-amĂ©ricaine.

Sergio Mendes - Timeless -  Mas Que Nada

Timeless is the magnificent new album by the legendary Sergio Mendes. Produced by and featuring Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, this album is a wholly original synthesis of music from the man who–40 years ago–brought Brazil 66 and « Mas Que Nada » to the world. Timeless beautifully blends the urban culture of Brazil, samba and bossa nova with the urban culture of America, hip hop and rap, the results of which are truly spectacular.
Putting together the project, Will and Sergio, of course, brought in the Black Eyed Peas. They also recruited some of the biggest urban-pop artists of the last several decades, each a Sergio fan, to contribute to various tracks. Featured artists include Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake, India.Arie, Q-Tip, John Legend, Jill Scott, Stevie Wonder, and members of the Roots and Jurassic 5.