Although Horace Silver was born in Connecticut his roots go back to The Cape Verde Islands of Africa. It was his father Joao Silva who migrated from Cape Verde to the northeastern part of the United States. Joao Silver changed his own name to John and changed the family name from Silva to Silver, therefore Horacio Tavares Silva became Horace Silver.
Horace Silver's big break came when Stan Getz decided to make him part of the Stan Getz quartet. Getz was a major influence on Silver during those early sax playing days. When Horace Silver's musical interest changed from sax to piano his major influence was Bud Powell.
Horace Silver's other major influence was Art Blakey. He became one of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers during the time of Bobby Timmons, Curly Russell and future Modern Jazz Quartet mainstay Percy Heath. Later Silver formed his own Jazz Messengers group. Most of his albums in the 49 years of activity were recorded for the Blue Note record label.
Unlike many of his contemporaries Horace Silver refused to take drugs, which probably accounted for his youthful appearance even at an advanced age. Like so many others the song that caught my attention was "Song For My Father" which was an unexpected jazz entry in the Billboard Top 100 (#95). The man on the cover was John Silver who looked just like my dad, who wore the same type of hat and shoes. Steely Dan's biggest hit "Rikki Don't Change That Number" was an adaptation of "Song For My Father"