Horace Silver engendered a new quintet with this funky fusion of afro-cuban swing and bossa nova bebop. Silver had already spent more than a decade recording enduring classics for Blue Note Records like Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers , Finger Poppin', Blowin' the Blues Away , and The Tokyo Blues with changing lineups.
'Song for My Father' was recorded during three sessions over the course of a year at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey with producer Alfred Lion. All of the tracks feature Horace Silver on piano; with tracks 1, 2, 4, and 5 including Carmell Jones on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone, Teddy Smith on bass, and Roger Humphries on drums; and the others with the rhythm section of Gene Taylor on bass and Roy Brooks on drums. Blue Mitchell played trumpet and Junior Cook played tenor saxophone on tracks 3, 7, 9, and 10. During the interim between sessions, Silver took a trip to Brazil.
Silver would reveal: “Believe me, Carnival provided much excitement. Rio was a wide-open town during that week. There was singing and dancing in the streets 24 hours a day for the whole week. Masquerade dances were held in ballrooms throughout the city. Prizes were given for best costumes. Several samba schools were competing for first prize…I was told that some of the very poorest people in Rio, who lived in the mountainside shacks called favelas, would do without things to save their money so that they could buy the materials to make fabulous costumes for Carnival. After returning home to New York from my visit with Sergio [Mendes] and Dom Um, I was haunted by the bossa nova rhythm I had heard in Brazil. I said to myself, ‘I’m going to try to write a song using that rhythmic concept.’ I sat down at the piano for a few hours and came up with a new song using the bossa nova rhythm. However, the melody didn’t sound Brazilian to me; it sounded more like some of the old Cape Verdean melodies my dad had played. Dad had always wanted me to take some of the old Cape Verdean songs and do jazz interpretations of them. This didn’t appeal to me, but when I realized I had written a new song with a Brazilian rhythmic concept and a Cape Verdean melodic concept, I immediately thought about dedicating the song to Dad. So I titled it ‘Song for My Father’.”
'Song for My Father' became his first album to chart, making it to number ninety-five on the US album chart and number eight on the US R&B album chart.
"Song For My Father" has been famously emulated by Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder.
'Song for My Father' full album:
All compositions by Horace Silver, except where noted.
"Song for My Father" – 7:17
"The Natives Are Restless Tonight" – 6:09
"Calcutta Cutie" – 8:31
"Que Pasa" – 7:47
"The Kicker" (Joe Henderson) – 5:26
"Lonely Woman" – 7:02
"Sanctimonious Sam" (Musa Kaleem) – 3:52
"Que Pasa (Trio Version)" – 5:38
"Sighin' and Cryin'" – 5:27
"Silver Treads Among My Soul" – 3:50