Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Killer Opening Songs (Song For My Father by Horace Silver)

Kind of Blue is the go-to album for people who are first introduced to jazz. Whether initially averse to the genre or curious about its intrinsic musical patterns, neophytes are usually given Miles Davis 1959 masterpiece as a way to join the ever-expanding jazz community. That is why Kind of Blue has remained such a powerful symbol of the coolness of jazz.

This is not fair on other equally ground-breaking records, however. There’s Alice Coltrane’s harp-driven, lyrical and sublime third album, Ptah, the El Daoud, Mary Lou Williams’ groovy and blues-infused Free Spirits and ass-kicking (pardon K.O.S.’s French) Horace Silver’s 1965 LP Song forMy Father.

Killer Opening Songs will concentrate on the third of these three albums tonight. Inspired by a trip Horace Silver made to Brazil, Song for My Father was one of Blue Note’s signature records from the sixties. Silver’s mother was of Irish and black descent, and his father was originally from Cape Verde. The influence of this ethnic mix on Horace is what makes Song for My Father such an enjoyable record.

Equally, part of what makes the record successful is the Killer Opening Song, the title song that is dedicated to Horace’s father, John Tavares Silva. This melody is quintessential hard bop with a funk element added in for good measure. Uncharacteristically it is not the binomial of drum and bass that kicks off the track but Horace’s deeply, swinging, groovy piano accompanied by tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson (although in the clip below both trumpet and saxophone come in at the same time at the outset). The feel of not just the Introductory Track with Murder Tendencies but of the whole album is one of ebullience and optimism. Calcutta Cutie has an air of eeriness about it whilst Que Pasa is a foot-tapping, catchy little number.

Now that Christmas is almost here, maybe it’s time to revisit your gift lists (if you are in the habit of making them up) and include this gem of a record. After all, it is not only Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue that has the knack to express the coolness of jazz, but also Horace Silver’s Song for My Father. And once again it is partly down to the Killer Opening Song.

© 2014

Next Post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on Sunday 7th December at 10am (GMT)


  1. its kind of a haunting melody, i feel like i have heard it before -- maybe in a movie or show...i am a freak though, i was totally fascinated by his mannerisms before the song even started...and watching the trumpeters face as he was playing...ha

  2. Like Brian Miller I found the music haunting - and was fascinated by those flying fingers. And such beautiful hands.
    Thank you.

  3. Wonderful to listen and to watch... Thank you!
    I can dream of listening to this on a quiet, rainy Sunday morning, with coffee and croissants... :-)

  4. I know I've heard it too, not sure where though

  5. Very enjoyable listening and watching here. I love the older songs. :)

  6. Awesome music review! I agree very beautiful hands, magical piano

  7. New CDs for my Christmas list! Thanks.

  8. oh what a great way to start the morning....sitting reading your blog listening to some great jazz and sipping coffee....LOVELY!
    Hope all is going well with you...we've hit "crazy, busy Christmas season" here at the store and so I cherish this little morning moment of solitude (& jazz!) My daughter is requesting LP's for Christmas...and I just may try to find this one for her (ok...for me lol!) Have a super week!!

  9. We're both having a blue theme! Love jazz.

  10. Sin duda una buena música de la que siempre es agradable de escuchar y como bien dices para tenerlo presente en esas fechas.
    Un abrazo.

  11. hm, I don´t recognice this melodi. Maybe it was not a big hit in Sweden.

  12. I really loved these, CiL...many thanks...they have put me in the "weekend" mood!:)

  13. I enjoyed the music but definitely not something I would listen to on the daily. Thanks for sharing got me out of my genre for a bit!

  14. Music really is the language of the soul. Songs like these have a certain effect. Love it.

  15. So any day I'm thinking to myself, "I want to learn something"--which is every day, to be honest--I try to find time to click over here, as I know you'll always introduce me to songs, books, or ideas that weren't known to me before. Thank you.

  16. Hi Cubano--thanks! I have been thinking a great deal about Miles lately ==and should listen more--because I am writing a novel about a brother and sister driving cross-country and the brother plays Miles a great deal. It takes place in the 80s. I a going to listen to these--the album that most affected me was a different name of Blue-=I'll have to check. Alice Coltrane a nice call from the past too--thanks much--k.

  17. ah - right after my heart... a well known piece in the sax world..sehr cool

  18. I LOVE jazz, especially when it's carried by the sax. My favorite, though, is the improvisational stuff you can hear at a jam session. For me, that was the very best thing about our visit to New Orleans.

    Great song choice!

  19. You have excellent taste in music!

    ALOHA from Honolulu

  20. Loved this, Cuban, I don't usually like jazz but this was quite relaxing. You can tell, I played it twice!

  21. Many thanks for your kind comments.

    Greetings from London.

  22. I've never heard this song before, thank you for sharing here.

    Just stopping in to wish you a very happy holiday season and all the best in 2015. :-)

    I'm taking a blog break soon so doing my visiting now.

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