Jazz Pianist Horace Silver, Hard Bop Pioneer, Dead at 85

June 18, 2014 11:12 PM

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Jazz Pianist Horace Silver, Hard Bop Pioneer, Dead at 85

Jazz pianist Horace Silver, a progenitor of the style known as hard bop and whose piano riff in "Song for My Father" was the backbone of Steely Dan's biggest hit, died June 18 at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 85.

Working with the drummer Art Blakey, he co-founded the prototype of hard bop bands, the Jazz Messengers in 1953, integrating elements of blues and gospel within the bright tempos and virtuosity favored in bebop. On their first album, released in 1954, Silver wrote all but one of the songs, then left...

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