Pure Jazz Magazine Vol 7 Issue 1 Horace Silver-PJM 2016


Pure Jazz Magazine is a semi annual magazine featuring in depth Jazz stories, interviews plus other information you may find interesting. Based in Brooklyn, USA for the world.

Who influences you now?

Myself. The reason I say that is because

when you get to a certain juncture in Jazz,

as a Jazz player, after you’ve amassed a lot of

technique, and you’ve had all of these influences,

then you don’t want to listen to anybody

anymore. ‘Cause now you’re trying

to take all that information-- for me it’s 40

years’ worth of information-- and you want

to create your sound. So most Jazz musicians

will tell you, once they get mature, they

listen to others for enjoyment, occasionally,

but they don’t listen for information the way

you would when you were younger. Now I

have to take techniques from Max Roach

and reformulate them into something that I

can say, well this is how TS Monk hears that.

So, today, I don’t listen to a lot of people.

I am on my own quest now to distinguish

myself from my competition.

Who are the influential artists

that you’ve played with?

Who is most notable?

Well of course there is the great, great, tenor

player, Clifford Jordan. He was a close

friend of my father’s and he really got me

back in the game. I mean there is no doubt

that Thelonious was a profound influence on

me, musically, because that is who I started

playing with. But in terms of someone really

pushing me forward, I would have to

say it was Max Roach and Clifford Jordan,

who happened to be really tight friends as

well. When I got back into Jazz, after 1992,

Clifford Jordan was the guy that gave me a

break. He was the guy that put me out there

and allowed me to perform with his big and

for the last year, before he died, and I think

that is critical for whom I am today. Had

I not been given that opportunity, I don’t

know if I would’ve been the band leader that

I am today.

In terms of people I’ve played with, god,

over the years I have played with so many

people. Herbie Hancock, Christian Mc-

Bride, Roy Hargrove, Ron Carter, Clark

Terry, Geri Allen, Wallace Roney, Paul Jeffrey.

Like most Jazz band leaders, if your objective

is to establish your own identity as a

band leader, that tends to limit who you can

play with because you have to do your own

thing. When one makes a decision to become

a band leader in Jazz, or in any genre

of music, for that matter, then you can’t play

with everybody. I’ve never been like a sideman

kind of guy, so I wasn’t looking to play

with everybody. I was more so looking for

people to play with me. So in that regard,

there are a lot of people that I haven’t played

with, simply because of the track I chose

which was to be a band leader. You can’t play

with everybody and you can’t take every

gig. It’s like politics. Most of the people that

I’ve named so far, are band leaders as well.

We tend to play with each other an awful

lot when we’re young but it changes when

we become established. I’m doing my own

thing, approaching 35 years of band leading,

so that doesn’t leave you a whole lot of room

to play with other people.

What are your career plans?

(Laughs) Hmmm, my career plans? Well

right now I have to tell you my career plan is

to really establish myself as a premier soloist.

There aren’t very many of us in Jazz, playing

the drums. When we think of premier soloists

in Jazz, we tend to go all the way back

to Chick Webb and Buddy Rich and Art

Blakey. If you look around Jazz today, there

aren’t a lot of drummers that people run

out and say “Oh I gotta go see so and so”.

I’ve been in

what we call

“the woodshed”

for the

past 5 years

now and actually,

I just

had a breakthrough


my instrument


will only be


when people

listen to me.

I’ve sort of

gotten to a

place where I

didn’t think I

was going to

get to. But,

ya’ know, if

you practice

hard, study

hard and really

put your

nose to the


all of a sudden


can happen.

TS Monk

So I am really looking forward to achieving

my goal as a premier soloist. I want to

establish myself to a place where people

say “Man I really love when TS solo’s”. It’s

a really difficult thing to do. You’ve got to

understand that people don’t really understand

the drums because they really don’t

understand rhythm. They understand 1, 2,

3, 4, you know, disco and pop music. When

you get into the areas of polyrhythm and all

of the colors that come from the instrument,

people are not very astute as to what that is.

In fact, if you look at pop culture, there have

been two drum solo’s that people recognize

and remember. Back in the 1930’s, Cozy

Cole had “Topsy”. The other one was by a

group called “The Ventures”, in the 1950’s

and that’s called “Wipeout”. So to make an

impression as a drummer is probably the

hardest task in instrumental music. And

that’s really what I’m into right now and

that’s what my goal is right now. I’m totally

immersed in it and I will make it come to

fruition and I will accomplish this goal.

How do you write music for other

instruments besides the drums?

Interesting question,

it really, really

varies. You

have great classical


from years ago

who didn’t even

have access to an

orchestra. They

were completely

tied to the paper.

In other words,

they had to write

everything out,

then if a benefactor,

such as a king

came along, an

orchestra would

be hired and

then they could

hear the music

back. But it’s

very, very different

today, there

are many ways

that you can hear

the music back.

But more importantly,


modern composers,

it depends on

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