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Alan Silva in Belgium, 1969

Alan Silva (born Alan Treadwell da Silva, Bermuda, January 22, 1939) is an American free jazz double bassist and keyboard player.



Born a British subject to an Azorean Portuguese woman (Irene da Silva) and a black Bermudian man known only as "Ruby" at the very height of segregation, Silva emigrated to the United States at the age of five with his mother, eventually acquiring U.S. citizenship by the age of 18 or 19. He adopted the professional name Alan Silva in his twenties.

He was quoted in a Bermuda newspaper in 1988 as saying that although he left the island at a young age, he always considered himself Bermudian. He grew up in Harlem, New York City, first taking up the trumpet.

Silva is known as one of the most inventive bass players in jazz and has performed with many of the great names in the world of avant-garde jazz, including Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray, and Archie Shepp.

Silva performed in 1964's October Revolution in Jazz and for Ayler's Live in Greenwich Village album. He has lived mainly in Paris since the early 1970s, where he formed the Celestial Communication Orchestra, a group dedicated to the performance of free jazz with various instrumental combinations. In the 1990s he picked up the electronic keyboard, declaring that his bass playing no longer surprised him. He has also used the electric violin and electric sarangi on his recordings.

Since around 2000 he has performed more frequently as a bassist and bandleader, notably at New York City's annual Vision Festivals.



As leader

as Take Some Risks:

  • "In Situ" (Adda)

As sideman

with Albert Ayler

with Sun Ra:

with Cecil Taylor:

with Sunny Murray:

with Shipen Lebzelter:

  • "Rock and Other Four Letter Words" (Columbia)

with Archie Shepp

with Grachan Moncur III:

with Dave Burrell:

with Jimmy Lyons:

with Francois Tusques:

  • "Intercommunal Music" (Shandar)

with Frank Wright:

  • "Center of the World" (Center of the World)
  • "Last Polka in Nancy?" (Center of the World)
  • "Solos & Duets" w/ Bobby Few (Sun Records)

with Bobby Few:

with Bill Dixon:

  • "Considerations 1" (Fore)
  • "Bill Dixon In Italy, Volume One" (Soul Note)
  • "Bill Dixon In Italy, Volume Two" (Soul Note)
  • "November 1981" (Soul Note)

with Franz Koglmann:

  • "Opium For Franz" (Pipe)

with Andrew Hill:

with the Globe Unity Orchestra:

  • "Intergalactic Blow" (JAPO)

with Abdelhai Bennani:

  • "Enfance" (Marge)
  • "Entrelacs" (Tampon Ramier)

with Itaru Oki:

  • "Paris-Ohraï" (Ohraï)


  • 2001 - Inside Out in the Open (2001). Directed by Alan Roth. Asymmetric Pictures. Distributed by Third World Newsreel.

External links


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