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One of the founding architects of hard bop in the 1950s, composer, pianist and bandleader Horace Silver has left a huge imprint on modern jazz. His compositions combine the ultimate in jazz sophistication with a common-man touch, blending tightly knit structures with hummable melodies, funky blues, soulful shouts and free-wheeling improvisation. Dozens of his songs have become jazz standards, including "Song For My Father," "Nica's Dream" and others. Pianist and composer Michael Weiss is an ideal musician to pay tribute to Silver, one of his earliest and longest lasting influences. Silver's "Blowing the Blues Away" was the first jazz LP Weiss ever bought at age 15, and he cut his teeth in New York in the 1980s working with former Silver sidemen Junior Cook, Art Farmer, Clifford Jordan, Joe Henderson, Bill Hardman and Lou Donaldson. Weiss was a prizewinner in the 1989 Thelonious Monk Institute's Solo Piano Competition, with Silver as one of the judges. For this tribute, Weiss will focus on many of Silver's lesser known gems such as "Ecaroh," "Moonrays," "Shirl" and "Nutville." Joining Weiss is a perfect combination of Horace Silver alumni: Randy Brecker and Tom Harrell each held the trumpet chair in Silver's quintet from 1968 to 1977. Bassist John Webber and drummer Willie Jones III were Silver's last working rhythm section. Eric Alexander, a hard-bop infected player joined Silver at his last New York appearance in 2004. Weiss, best known as longtime sideman with Johnny Griffin, works with Frank Wess, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and others. In addition to leading his own groups, most notably at the Village Vanguard, Weiss has produced concerts celebrating the music of Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.

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