In the period between 1965 and 1970 alone, Alan Silva’s double-bass innovations graced enough enduring, if not historic, recordings to ensure a permanent prominence in the discussion of the evolution of extended techniques and the instrument’s role in improvised music. Curiously, however, he is rarely mentioned in the same paragraph, let alone breath, as the principals of the new thing, despite a subsequent, steady output of recordings into the late ’80s. A discographical gap between 1987 and ’93, and a focus on keyboards on most of his recordings in the ’90s, certainly did not help his stock as a bassist. Transmissions, a duo program with woodwind player Oluyemi Thomas, is a welcomed opportunity to hear Silva reassert his compelling voice on the instrument.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.