Musician in Mantua
The first time he heard John Coltrane on the radio (1961) in New York City, Silkhorn heard a passion and a cry in the tenor saxophone tone that seemed to speak from somewhere deep inside a place that must be where the soul resides. Not only was the sound of the horn impossible to ignore but the cascade of improvised melody was unlike anything imagineable. So much power and such a blizzard of complexity and hard driving rhythmn that it totally captured his heart. Now flashback ten years to 1951 in Bayonne,N.J. Silkhorn's first teacher has taken him to a small music store to help him pick out his first saxophone. A magical man named Charlie Oliver (the teacher) ....he spoke very little but taught by illustration. He turned on the radio in the store and tuned in to the song "Moonlight in Vermont" and picked up the horn he had selected and began playing improvised melody to join the music on the radio. Silkhorn was mesmerized by this and became enamored for life about the act of making up music on the spot from the imagination. He never had a chance to learn how to do this before his family moved to Linden,N.J. in 1955. The idea of becoming a musician was frowned on by his depression era parents who wanted him to go to college to become an engineer, so music became a hobby. His first year at Rutgers Engineering was a bust ( he was accused of cheating on his calculus exam for getting the highest grade-- he did not cheat--and flunked out and was expelled ) Riddled with shame,he left his home amd moved into Manhattan and became a beatnik of sorts,living in Greenwich Village. His roomate was a filmmaker and Silkhorn became a very prodigious drinker. One of the bars was on W.10th St. Called Julius. He befriended an upcoming actor who was super in a building in the East Village. This is now 1961 and Silkhorn had discovered Coltrane and became obsessed with the man. Turns out there was a vacancy in this building and a bass player named Reggie Workman lived there and was a member of Coltrane's band. The band rehearsed there at times and Silkhorn stayed home for a week to listen to the great tenor man rehearse. And so it happened and Silkhorn was in total awe of John Coltrane and the way he played. Once he was practicing in his apartment above Workman's and he woke somebody up (he banged on the ceiling and told Silkhorn to practice later.) When Silkhorn came home that night there was a note stuck in his door with a diagram on how to build a baffled box out of cardboard to muffle the sound while practicing. And this advice: " anything you play sounds good if you have a good tone" Yes it was a note from the man himself, John Coltrane. Silkhorn became a groupie of Trane and also the Miles Davis band who played around the jazz clubs in the Village like the Vanguard,the Five Spot and the Half Note. To make this long story shorter Silkhorn was never able to become a musician but never stopped playing his sax at home, to the detriment of his three marriages( his first wife threw his horn down the stairs out of jealousy) It seemed he loved his horn more than his wives. During the early 1980's he came upon the idea of multi-tracking and began a 25 year trek to learn all the elements of composing tracks so he had accompaniment to play with. Now in 2006 he has developed a style that insinuates his Coltrane and Miles influences while learning to make a groove based music with lyrics and sax and flute solos that reflects his love of living at the Jersey Shore (his source of inspiration) and also writes about other topics that move him. The name Silkhorn came to him one day in a dream and he has become the writer, arranger, singer, producer, and multi-instumentalist who plays all parts of his music in a labor of love that consumes most of his time when he is not out boating with his brother. The music is made to highlight the sax and flute on which he is self taught. His approach to chords and music theory are not based on scales or keys, but on interesting sounds that transition from one part to the next. Friends tell him that they hear the person he is in this sound and it is filled with love (not romantic love--the love of music) The first CD release " Musician in Mantua" uses photos of the shore as does his website. A second and third release are not far behind. The second will be titled "Cosmic Surf Dance" I am Silkhorn and my name is John. Please accept my ultimate act of love, it has taken an entire lifetime to get to this point and will be my life's work for my remaining years.