Saturday, October 04, 2014

Jazz Orchestra: Director's Notes

The Jazz Orchestra is paying tribute to the legendary composer and pianist Horace Silver on our half of the October 4 concert. Silver passed away in June at the age of 85. He is one of the most influential composers in jazz history, having written a number of tunes that have become jazz standards, including the seven we will be playing: "Sister Sadie", "Nutville", "Song For My Father", "Filthy McNasty", "The Jody Grind", "Nica's Dream" and "Peace."

Silver was one of the originators of the hard bop style of jazz, which was distinguished in part by an earthiness that came from blues and gospel influences. This side of Silver's personality will be represented by "Sister Sadie", "Filthy McNasty", and "The Jody Grind."

Silver also made frequent use of Latin rhythms, particularly bossa nova, and this is heard in "Nutville", "Song For My Father", and "Nica's Dream". While not as well-known for it, Silver also wrote beautiful ballads, and "Peace" is probably the best-known of those.

 While Silver wrote almost exclusively for quintet or sextet, his compositions are filled with the kinds of details usually encountered in compositions for much bigger ensembles, so they're easily adaptable for big band, and fans of Silver's original recordings will hear much that's familiar in the arrangements were playing, which include the work of Cecil Bridgewater, John LaBarbera, John Clayton, David Berger, Ian McDougall, Dave Eshelman and Frank Mantooth.

--Dan Aldag

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