Born in 1928, Silver learned music from father while living in Cape Verde. Silver was eventually hired to play with musicians like Stan Getz, but his career really got its start when he began playing with Art Blakely & The Jazz Ensemble. While in Blakely’s group, Silver began incorporating blues and gospel influences into his pieces, and he became so prolific that he ended up writing all but one song on the group’s hard bop classic Art Blakely & The Jazz Ensemble.
In 1955, Silver began making albums for the legendary Blue Note label, which would act as the home for his records until 1980. While at Blue Note, Silver’s work delved further into the hard bop style. Four of his Blue Note albums were picked by Blue Note for their “100 essential jazz albums” list in honor of the label’s 75th anniversary this year. Moreover, his song “Song For My Father” was later borrowed by Donald Fagen as the basis for the introduction to Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” which served to introduce Silver’s work to an even bigger audience.
Silver is survived by his son Gregory.