Let's Get to the Nitty Gritty: The Autobiography of Horace Silver / Edition 1

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This autobiography of Horace Silver, the great jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader, takes us from his childhood in Norwalk, Connecticut, through his rise to fame in New York, to his comfortable life "after the road" in California. During his long career, Silver played with legendary musicians, recorded a number of classic albums, and composed an impressive repertoire of tunes that have become standards. In Let's Get to the Nitty Gritty, Silver also describes the spiritual awakening he underwent in the 1970s, a transformation that found expression in the electronic and vocal music of a three-part work called The United States of Mind and eventually led him to start his own record label, Silveto. Silver details the economic forces that persuaded him to put Silveto to rest and to return to the studios of such major jazz recording labels as Columbia, Impulse, and Verve, where he continued expanding his catalogue of new compositions and making recordings that are at least as impressive as his earlier work. Silver's irrepressible sense of humor combined with his distinctive spirituality make his account, which is well seasoned with anecdotes about the music, the musicians, and the milieu in which he worked and prospered, both entertaining and inspiring.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Silver's contributions as pianist, producer, bandleader, composer and lyricist have catapulted him into the pantheon of jazz legends. Finding an "inner source of inspiration" for his music in dreams, tea kettle whistles, cricket chirps and the spirit world, Silver is an innovator whose musical influences include the blues as well as gospel, Latin, symphonic, Broadway shows and folk music. Painting a colorful backdrop of the jazz scene over six decades, Silver reveals the events behind songs like "Se or Blues" and "Song for My Father" as he traces his musical development from his youth in Norwalk, Conn. Following gigs in high school, he toured with Stan Getz, arriving in New York to team with top talents on club dates, recording sessions and radio broadcasts. In 1952, he began a 28-year association with Blue Note Records and then ran Silveto, his own independent record label, during the 1980s. Silver, now 78, has an astonishing recall of every musician he ever encountered, prompting plenty of anecdotes amid the solid self-insights. The critical afterword by Pastras (Dead Man Blues) analyzes Silver's "steadfast refusal to let a groove become a rut." 17 b&w photos not seen by PW. (Mar. 6) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Composer, pianist, and bandleader Silver has been credited with being one of the founding members of the 1950s hard bop movement, and this autobiography should do well to illuminate some of the ideas that helped spawn that continuing musical movement. Silver describes his early years growing up in Norwalk, CT; his ascension to New York City's jazz scene; his move to California; and his spiritual awakening, which led to a change in his music that alienated some of his listeners (and the record companies). Editor Pastras (Dead Man Blues: Jelly Roll Morton Way Out West) discusses the legacy of Silver's post-1970 work in the afterword, arguing that it deserves to be reevaluated. Though there is little on Silver's stint with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (which he cofounded)-an area of great interest to jazz fans-considering that there aren't a lot of books on Silver and hard bop, this is a welcome addition to any jazz collection. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-Ronald S. Russ, Arkansas State Univ. Lib., Beebe Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520253926
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 282
  • Sales rank: 479,935
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Horace Silver was born in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1928. He now lives in Malibu, California. Phil Pastras is Assistant Professor of English at Pasadena City College and author of Dead Man Blues: Jelly Roll Morton Way Out West (California, 2002).

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Table of Contents

Photographs Follow Page     120
Foreword   Joe Zawinul     xi
Preface     xiii
Acknowledgments     xv
Childhood     1
Dreaming My Dreams: Teenage Years     18
Lady Music and the Messengers: Early Adult Years     34
The Quintet     90
Westward Bound: Middle Years     121
Off the Merry-Go-Round: Later Years     151
Epilogue     177
Afterword   Phil Pastras     183
Discography   Eric B. Olsen     197
Recordings Honoring Horace Silver     243
A Select Bibliography of Music Publications     245
Awards     247
Index     249
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