Horace Silver Talks Jazz

HoraceSilver Neil Proff, my sax instructor, handed me an excerpt chapter from the “The Art of Small Combo Jazz Playing, Composing & Arranging” by Horace Silver. I has spurred me on to purchase the book which I have only be able to find in USED markets. From the book:

What should the aspiring jazz player practice: In my opinion, when practicing each day, time should be devoted to standard practice procedures such as reading, tone, breathing (long tones), scales, harmony, and finger exercises (technique). Time should also be devoted each day to acquiring a greater harmonic knowledge and a greater improvisational ability. Learn as many songs as you can. Learn the correct melody, harmony, and rhythm to these songs. Practice improvising on the chord changes to these songs. Tape yourself while improvising these songs and play back the tape to find where you’re making mistakes.

Nothing here should be new to even the most casual music performer. And now we record, vice “tape” ourselves. Another thing that Horace encourages a musician to do is jam whenever you can. Go to sessions to sit in and improvise. If you can’t find a place to do this start your own sessions as there are other musicians like us who will want to do this.

A new band I worked very hard to set up is struggling now. After two years of working with the board of a community band I was, with the help of the president and the Jazz Director, able to convince the band to split one overly large Jazz Ensemble into two bands. At one time we had 15 saxophones in the original band. But building the new band has been difficult as I look for at least one soloist per section, leaders to own the sections, music that the new band can play so that we can get our first gig. This has taken more time than I care to admit.

I’m approaching week two of my study hard enough to impress Neil when he gets back from his summer masters program and yesterday I only picked up the clarinet, futzed with mouthpieces, reeds, and barrels. So I lost a day and another chance to get better on sax, my primary instrument. A friend of mine, JB is working scales and the last I heard he’d practiced at least an hour a day since Neil left! He is an inspiration to me. Today Suzy and I will do at least an hour as we prepare for a gig next weekend.


About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra, and enjoy time with family and friends.
This entry was posted in Education, Jazz, Music, Saxophone and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Horace Silver Talks Jazz

  1. kitten says:

    I agree with you Jim on the jamming aspect as much as possible with as many pieces as you can get your hands on the more diverse the better. One thing you suggest for players is that they do not just get wrapped up in technique but learn to tap into their feel. I agree with you Jim very important.
    I had the opportunity to find out just how important this is. The music director at Kent State University loved my husband’s guitar playing he was in the Jazz ensemble many years ago. She had previously been first chair violin in the orchestra quite a few years ago before she acquired her new position at Kent.
    She told my husband she could never do what he did on his axe with her instrument. She told him her technical training hindered her in some ways for unless she read a piece she did not have the ears to just jump in and be so diverse frankly every time his professor and their group held a practice she would wander out of her office just to listen to him shaking her head smiling.
    She is a very talented musician believe me so I am not saying anything about her ability. She herself could see a place in her training where it lacked something. I must admit I felt wonderful knowing how much she loved his playing, he is a talent, and it is a gift to be able to play this way.
    Although he is universal player he tapped into the greats, he listened to the best, he has a feel to die for I wish I had his talent as a vocalist. Although he thinks I have a good voice he feels I could have developed my feel to a much better advantage. I think as a woman at least for me this taps into my emotions thus I am already in my mind where I want to be.
    But then when I read this post today I must agree you are both right (Males go figure) there is a measure of learning each and every time you do what you love be it feel or technique this post has gifted me with a rare opportunity to admit to myself maybe I have been wrong. Darling you and Suzy have a great practice today, hope your upcoming gig is filled with fun. Be well fair day to you both.
     Great post! Kisses Catherine 

  2. Rambling says:

    what a lovely comment she wrote.  It was as much a pleasure to read it as to read your blog today.

  3. JaAG says:

    Yes Catherine is a sweetie. Carole meet Catherine. Music can make for strange bed fellows me thinks. If it was wasn’t for the virtual world of the Internet, we most likely would have never met. Yet we can share thoughts, pictures, videos, and more as if we were next door neighbors. In fact, I share more with my blog posse that I do with my neighbors. Sad but true. Does the virtual world protect us to some extent from the trappings of the real world?

  4. kitten says:

    Carole a warm hello to you it is my pleasure to meet you.  Thank you darling for the warm introduction, although I feel I already know her in a way from her postings I love to read what everyone posts. Speaking of strange bedfellows darling you made me think of Fourplays’ song “Between the Sheets” I love their soft soulful rendition. You might want to take a listen. Let me also say thank you Carole for saying such a very nice thing I appreciate your thoughtfulness very much indeed. Oh and by the by I do agree with you darling about the real world although you can not stop by my place and borrow a cup of sugar, I can still give you a little sugar, playfully smiles. You Gandalfe are a sweet heart, a very nice male indeed. Well you both have a wonderful morrow hopefully brimming with sunshine.
     Hugs and kisses Catherine

  5. Deb says:

    I love how much you love music.

  6. JaAG says:

    Well you do too sissie! You just handle it differently. Actually the whole family luvs music; it must be in the genes, eh?  :o)

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