Alan Silva

Decades: 2000s


Alan Treadwell Silva, 22 January 1939, Bermuda. Silva grew up in New York, studying piano and violin from the age of 10. He also took trumpet lessons from Donald Byrd for three years. He only started playing double bass at the age of 23. His acute musical ear and interest in new sounds made him ideal for some of Cecil Taylor’s most demanding music: he played on the classic Blue Note Records releases of 1966, Unit Structures and Conquistador!, and played with Taylor until 1969. Together with Burton Greene he formed the Free Form Improvisation Ensemble, and also worked for other key innovators, including Sun Ra (1965-70), Albert Ayler (1966-70), Sunny Murray (1969) and Archie Shepp (1969). In 1970 he moved to France and formed the Celestial Communication Orchestra to play free jazz with various instrumentations. He also played in smaller groups with tenor saxophonist Frank Wright, pianist Bobby Few and drummer Muhammad Ali.

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