Tunes on Tuesday: Song For My Father

Why this tune?

We’re celebrating Horace Silver’s birthday this week, so in his memory I chose to celebrate one of his most well-known original tunes “Song For My Father”. His first recording is an iconic jazz classic, an instrumental version released as the title track of an album in 1964, featuring a photo of Silver’s father on the cover. You probably know the opening piano vamp, either from Silver’s recording or the first notes of Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number

Dig this detail!

Vocalists who perform this song can choose between two sets of lyrics, one written by Silver himself, and another contributed later by Ellen May Shashoyan. Dee Dee Bridgewater sung Horace’s words in her 1995 album “Love And Peace”, while Gregory Porter went with the other lyrics on Louis Hayes’ 2017 “Serenade For Horace.” I admit I like Silver’s lyrics better – I find them more direct and heartfelt.

There are additional lyrics to this classic tune in other languages, including a Portuguese version by Carmen Souza and a translation to Finnish recorded by Maarit in 1975 (thanks again to the essential resource Second Hand Songs).

Hear the story

Check it out!

Horace Silver, 1964

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Louis Hayes with Gregory Porter

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer in Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology professional working at a small DC nonprofit

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