Horace Silver: Blue Note Records and His Lady Music
I started, in '69, writing The United States of Mind (Blue Note, 1970)that three-part series/three record series, and I hadn't finished it, so since I got married, I'd take some time off from being on the road; spend it [time off] at home with my wife and finish writing the The United States of Mind. I had to write lyrics, melodies, arrangements and everything. I had to audition some singers and all of that. I decided I was gonna take about a year off and I was gonna finish up that music and record, which I did, and I stayed home about a year. I intended to come back to work in 1972, but then my son Gregory was born and I just couldn't seem to leave him.
EH: Was this your first child?
HS: Yes, very first one and I was kinda enthralled by him and kept putting it off. And I looked around and two years had gone by. So I said, "Wow, let me go on and get back out there." So I started up a new group and, as of March 1973, I went back to work and have been working ever since. I worked from March, 1973 to now, 1974, and I just haven't had a chance in '73 to get out here. It seems like every time I tried to get a booking in California I could get a couple of weeks in L.A. but not in 'Frisco. They were all booked up or vice versa. It's impossible to come out here for two weeks. I don't make any money. Transportation is very highunless I have at least a month's work, it's impossible. I just had to wait for a timeslot where I could get to more than one city in order to make a profit out of this tour. So we went to 'Frisco first and we went on to Vancouver last week and got two weeks there, which makes the cheese more binding.
EH: At the time you sat down to write the The United States of Mind, were you going into the philosophy of TM? Because I've kept up with most all your albums from that period I became aware of your music. I think that You Gotta Take A Little Love (Blue Note, 1969) seems to have been the initial album which may have catapulted you into that philosophy. That's when you started putting lyrics on the linersonto the album coversand your music changed just a wee bitit differed from your previous work.
HS: That's a very good assumption because you're pretty close to right there. You know, I would say You Gotta Take A Little Love catapulted me into the The United States of Mind. I got interested in writing lyrics about that time and, well, became interested in Metaphysics and Indian philosophies, and Yoga philosophies. I have always been interested in health foods, vitamins; you know, the heath thing. So, I was trying to get the physical thing, the mental thing, and the spiritual thing altogether. I was doing a lot of reading, a lot of soul-searching, a lot of meditation; and I put it altogether and came up with the The United States of Mind, which deals with all of that which I just mentioned; dealing with the physical, the mental and the spiritual things.
EH: You sat down and started the The United States of Mind series and formed a new group. Why didn't you include name musicians? Prior to this album, you had been using musicians who had been around.
HS: You mean the The United States of Mind records?
EH: When I saw you in '69 you had...
HS: Randy Brecker
EH: Would you say that was the last time you used name musicians? Out here in L.A. you're using musicians I never heard of; and I'm sure they have experience behind them. People are used to seeing you with heavyweights like Stanley Turrentine or Joe Henderson.
HS: I never worked with Stanley Turrentine. He just made a record with mehe's never traveled with mehe's a leader in his own right. So I couldn't hire him. He's got his own band; he just made a record with me.
EH: Well, I mean you're using younger musicians who are kinda unknown.
HS: Everybody I've used was unknown at one time. Blue Mitchell was unknown when I first used him; so was Junior Cook; all of these guys; so was Benny Maupin when he first came with me; so was Randy Brecker. You know all these guys were unknown when they first joined me.
EH: OK. We hit on the same thing; you look like the way Blakey was doing with the Messengerstaking young guys in, working with them, and when they've built a repertoire and got a name, they went out on their own. That seems like what you're doing.