Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Silver, Trudy

Silver, Trudy, pianist, educator, composer; b.  New Britain, CT, 24 April  1953. Her mother (born Jane Kantrowitz, 1918) and brothers (Dan, b. 1945;  Jeffrey, b.1948) played piano.  Her father, Abraham Silver (1917-1976) played violin and cello. Her aunt Lillian Birnbaum (b. 1919) was a student of Moishe Paranoffat (chair of music at Julius Hart College of Music Chair).

Trudy had piano lessons from the age of 7 and was the only child pupil of Maria Luisa Faini (Professor Emeritus Eastman School of Music). She was featured as the prodigy Mozart in a Hartford Music Club performance at age 9. Studied composition and music appreciation with Armin Loos (1904-1971) ca.1969 and was first introduced to work of John Coltrane. She was in Jackie McLean's first class at the University of Hartford with Billy Gault (Kaleem Zarif), Bobby Naughton and Mario Pavone. Her involvement in the anti-war movement and the feminist movement inspired her to move to Berkeley, California in January 1971. In California she first heard Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane Ravi Shankar and Alice Coltrane in a live concert at the University of California. She taught herself chords and jazz harmony.  She returned to Connecticut in June, 1971 and studied privately with saxophone player David Gross and Lee Callahan.  ca. 1973 she started playing with local band s including Billy Arnold, Emmitt Spencer, Eddie Jones, Mario Pavone. In 1973 she became interested in Latin influenced music and lived in Mexico for three months where she learned to speak Spanish.  When she returned she played with local Latin bands.  She studied with Makanda Ken McIntyre at S.U.N.Y Old Westury in 1975 and 1976. She considers him to be her most important influence. During that period she started to develop her foot tapping technique while playing piano.

From 1976-1978 she lived and worked in an artists' collective in New Britain while studying privately and playing in local bands.  She was featured several times a year in the Community Renewal Team's Jazz Series under the direction of bassist Paul Brown and performed in local Hartford Clubs on a regular basis with her own trio and quartet.  In 1979 she moved to Montreal and worked at the Meridian Hotel until 1981. As a member of the Montreal Musicians' Union she performed extensively throughout Montreal and Quebec.  She was part of the house band at Dou Dou Boicel's 'Le Soleil Levant' and Paul Minuto's 'L'air Du Temp where she played with Nina Simone, Guy Nadon, Tom Chapin, Lawrence Cook, Aaron Scott, Michelle Denateau, Leo Peron and numerous Canadian vocalists and musicians. She also performed on C.B.C. television concerts with local Montreal and Quebec musicians. During that period she was the only American working continuously through the union with a temporary work visa. In 1981 she moved to New York and began working with Thurman Barker, Wilbur Morris, Warren Smith and Roy Campbell, Fred Hopkins among others. She then began a period of bringing bands to Montreal and Quebec from New York. She was musical director of the Salt and Pepper Theater Company from 1985-1990 and performed in most of their productions under the direction of Scottie Davis.  From 1984-1986 she toured with Makanda Ken McIntyre throughout the New England States and performed at Brandeis University, Trinity College and Berklee College of Music. She was featured pianist and composer in the Connecticut Jazz Society Tribute To Bud Powell in 1984. In 1985 she performed an original piece 'Arise Ye Wretched' with the 40-piece M.O.B.I. (Musicians of Brooklyn Initiative) The piece was conducted by Lester Bowie.

Also in 1985 she received a professional music scholarship to attend Berklee College of music. She commuted to Boston from New York and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree in 1987.  She then began teaching music in the New York Public Schools.  Composed the music for 'Foodsteps From Before' by Lou Meyers performed at Jessie Jackson'88 fundraiser at 1199 Manhattan. She did adjunct work at S.U.N.Y. Old Westbury in the piano department and in Hunter College's Graduate Education program 1990-1995 and received a Masters In Education from Hunter College in 1993.  In 1994 she wrote an unpublished book Multi-cultural Raps and Songs For the Classroom Teacher which is written in English and Spanish.  She has used her book extensively in teacher training workshops sponsored by Festival Music and Artsgenesis of New Jersey as well as in her teaching in the New York Public School system.  She toured Germany with the SIT U Dance Company in 1992 under the direction of choreographer Elaine Shipman and toured Japan in 1995 with violinist, Kaneo Yamashita under the auspices of Yasuhiro Fujioka. She has been teaching music literacy, piano, voice and Spanish at Repertory Highschool in Town Hall since 1998 and toured throughout Italy in December 2000 with 30 of her students. In 1998 she was one of 8 composers chosen by Tricentric Foundation under the direction of Anthony Braxton to present her work. Mr. Braxton collaborated with her in an operetta Preemptive Strike which features Barbara Christopher, Anthony Braxton and her husband Bruce Morris among others. 

She has performed at jazz clubs (Knitting Factory, others) and radio stations in the U.S., Montreal, Quebec City, Venezuela, Germany and in Italy with her students.  She performs with her students at Town Hall twice annually and has featured Booker T., Joseph Daly, Newman Baker, Sheila Brown, Will Connell and Gerard Faroux among others. She co-found the 5C Cultural Center in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan with her husband, Bruce Morris. Together they have produced over 400 events since 1995 featuring Makanda Ken McIntyre, Reggie Workman, Charles Persip, Andrew Lamb, Matthew Shipp, Leroy Jenkins among many others. She has performed and recorded with the late spoken word artist Cenen Moreno at Theater For the New City and for fundraisers for the radio station WBAI.

Recordings:
Heroes/Heroines (1987); Silver Plays featuring Will Connell: Stork (1992); Preemptive Strike Stork (2002)
Unissued recordings:
About 30 unissued tapes and numerous videotapes of performances from ca. 1976 on, with Makanda McIntyre, Fred Hopkins, Charles Persip, Mario Pavone, Bill Lowe, Roy Campbell, Kaneo Yamashita, Barbara Christopher, Melene Bey, Sheila Jordan, Daniel Carter and others; -Cassette Tape, Jeanne Lee with Trudy Silver, Even The Sounds are Blue copyright 1993 by Miyoshi Smith; Dat, Stork Festival 4/3/94 Silver/Connell Duo at Context; Dat, 8/24/96 Trudy Silver/Wilbur Morris Duo at 5C Cultural Center; Numerous Dats at Seltzer Sound 1987-2002

Radio broadcasts:
Live radio performances on WBRS-FM with Bill Lowe and Phillip Crettein (Brandeis U.; ca. 1985), WKCR with Daniel Carter and William Hooker (Columbia U.; ca.1984-86),  WBAI with Bill Terry and Jasper McGruder (New York., ca.1987); Numerous radio interviews across the U.S., in Germany , Japan and Italy.

Bibliography:
Article featuring Silver as educator, Amsterdam News (6/9/90)

Contact:
trudysilver@5ccc.com

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