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Legendary jazz pianist and composer Horace Silver has died at age 85.
Silver died of natural causes at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Known for his combination of blues, funk and Latin sounds, Silver pioneered the genre of hard bop. Hard bop utilizes the rhythmic and harmonic principles of bebop and combines them with gospel, blues and R&B influences.
Silver also co-founded the Jazz Messengers, which became a training ground for new and rising stars, reported NPR. As bandleader, he mentored some of the greatest musicians of his era, including saxophonist Hank Mobley and trumpeter Blue Mitchell.
In addition to leading bands, Silver was a prolific composer with numerous jazz standards to his name. Many are still played today.
He was signed to Blue Note Records as a house pianist and arranger for nearly three decades, and later founded two other labels: Silveto and Emerald Records. Neither personal label proved to be successful, but he composed many high quality pieces during this time.
A successful jazz musician for more than 60 years, Silver’s music still lives on today in the hearts of many contemporary musicians inspired by his works.