A Few Funny Quotes From Horace Silver

I have been reading the Autobiography of Horace Silver ‘Lets Get To Nitty Gritty.’ I’m about half way through the book and its a great read. A really honest account of a fascinating life led by one of the few musicians in his era that remained completely substance free.  There are few great quotes and anecdotes that I thought that I would post here that made me chuckle and also a mention of the great Linton Garner:

Page 27

“I recall playing a dance gig in Port Chester, New York, when I was about sixteen years old. I played tenor, Keter Betts was on bass, Junebug Lindsey was on drums, and Linton Garner (Erroll’s brother) on piano.  We had a ball that night. I was so thrilled to be playing a gig with Erroll Garner’s brother.  Linton is a real fine pianist. He plays in his own style,  not emulating his brother. As far as I know, he’s still on the planet.  I ran into him several years ago. I hadn’t seen him since that night in Port Chester. We had a great get-together and talked a lot about Erroll.  I was never influenced by Erroll’s playing style, but his genius always inspired me and still does.”


Page 44

“I remember an incident that happened in Birdland when Mingus was the bass player in Stan Getz’s  group.  Stan was taking a solo when all of a sudden he injected a quotation of the verse from “Ol Man River’  – the words go, “Darkies all work on the Mississippi, / Darkies all work while the white folks play.”  Stan played that in his solo, not thinking about a racial thing, but Mingus was supersensitive about race, so he took offense.  While the other band  was on, he went across the street to Colony Records and asked the guy behind the counter to play a recording of “Eli Eli.” a jewish folk song.  The guy played it for him, and Charles memorized and came back to Birdland. in the next set, he included that in his solo, as if he was getting even with Stan for playing “Darkies all work on the Mississippi.”  I don’t think he mentioned it to Stan, and I don’t think Stan even noticed. ”

Page 59

“At one time, Miles Davis was one of the highest – paid artists in jazz.  He made BIG money. He invested some of this money in an electric company that supplied New York with electricity. Every time he phoned me, his opening remark was, “Have you got your lights on? Go turn your lights on.”

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