“I call Horace Silver the ‘Cape Verdean Man of Blues’ because his music transcends far beyond his time and touches people everywhere.”
– Carmen Souza
For such a tiny and remote spot on the map, the ten volcanic islands of Cape Verde off the coast of Africa are fertile ground for the roots of blues and jazz. You can draw Creole cultural and musical lines from mainland Africa through the islands to Portugal and Brazil, to the Caribbean and American Gulf Coast. Jazz legend Horace Silver explored his ancestral roots there and forever changed music with his island-influenced, blues-driven bop in the 1950s and ’60s.
Born to Cape Verdean parents in Lisbon, Portugal, musician Carmen Souza grew up with the sounds and traditions of the islands and has made her own indelible mark on the jazz world. A versatile guitarist, pianist and songwriter, Souza’s genius is her fresh weaving of traditional African and Creole rhythms with contemporary jazz and soul influences. But perhaps most distinctive is her singing. Echoing the tone and clarity of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, Souza plays her voice like a musical instrument - expressing a deep range of lyrical emotion through high-low vibrato and rhythmic phrasing.
As a lifelong fan and frequent player of Horace Silver’s music, Souza has just a recorded a remarkable tribute album called The Silver Messengers, and we’re thrilled to feature it to help bring some sizzle to your spring. Collaborating again with her longtime mentor and bassist bandmate Theo Pas’cal, Souza infuses Silver’s repertoire with Cape Verdean musical twists, hot Brazilian dance rhythms, and dusky American blues. It plays like a full-scale history of world jazz and shouldn’t be missed. Be sure to catch her entrancing version of Silver’s “Song for My Father.”