Words from TERRY SILVERLIGHT"

"SEVEN DEADLY SINS" session notes and memories with PHIL WOODS



One of the outstanding and important credits in my drumming career was to have had the opportunity to play with Phil Woods. As with other turning points in my early days, my brother Barry Miles was instrumental in this materializing.

In 1976, Barry recorded his "Sky Train" album for which I was the drummer. Phil Woods conducted the horn ensemble.
Here's the link to that album:
Sky Train

Phil was impressed with my performance on that album and along with Barry suggested I be the drummer on his next solo recording effort, "Seven Deadly Sins". I'm grateful to both of them. I was flown over to Barnes, England and played drums on that album at Olympic Sound Studios (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and The Rolling Stones used the studio for many of their recordings).

About six months later, Barry invited me to play on his next album, which was slated to be recorded also at Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes, England over a two-week period, along with albums for Mel Torme, Michel Legrand, and Larry Wilcox featuring Kenny Wheeler. Once again, I was flown to the UK, this time with Will Lee and Vic Juris accompanying me in the New York rhythm section, at Barry's and my request.

During both the "Seven Deadly Sins" and sessions for these other albums, I was 20 years old. Although I had already played on several of Barry's pioneering fusion recordings (with sidemen including Pat Martino, John Abercrombie, Al DiMeola, Eric Kloss) this was my first venture out of that comfort zone into an unfamiliar environment (different recording studio, country, musicians including members of the London Symphony Orchestra, composers, arrangers).

Phil was the featured performer on most of the sessions. He came in totally confident, sight-reading perfectly and executing every written note with authority and conviction. His soloing was modern, creative and powerful demonstrating an outstanding ability to solo over any given structure of chord changes making beautiful, musical sense of it all.

After a couple of days, Phil walked over to my drum booth and I thought, "OK, he's going to send me back home". To my surprise, his words were, "I wouldn't want to be in your shoes with all this, man. You're doing a great job. Keep it up". I will forever thank Phil for saying that to me when I needed to hear it most. It was one of the defining moments in my life that convinced me to continue pursuing music seriously as a career into my adulthood.

Barry's next album was "Barry Miles/ Fusion Is" which he once again invited me to play drums on. Phil Woods wrote the liner notes and refers to the sessions in England I had just been a part of.
Here's the link:
Phil Woods Liner Notes

Around this time, Phil's drummer Bill Goodwin called me to sub for him on a live Phil Woods Quintet gig. I'm honored that Phil put in a good word for me. It was a gig in Paterson, NJ at the jazz room "Gullivers". I had played there several times prior to this occasion with average audience attendance. The night I played there with Phil (I was 20 years old at this time), I drove up to the venue and couldn't find any access to load my drums in. There was a line of people waiting to get in wrapped around the highway! I played with Phil's quintet a few more times after that and treasure each. (Harry Leahey- guitar, Steve Gilmore- bass, Mike Melillo- piano)

When it was time to collect testimonial quotes for my drum instruction book, "The Featured Drummer", Phil wrote:
"I have worked with Terry Silverlight on several of my own recording projects and he demonstrates a fine musical imagination".

Just a few months ago, I wrote Phil a hello email and here's his reply:
Hello Terry,
Yes my man- we had some great times back in the day.
So nice to hear from you - you sound in fine fettle playing your butt off as usual. We were making music in halcyon days when life seemed clearer. These days I don't know.
But, I still enjoy waking up brushing my tooth saying thank you and going to work!
Stay well and stay in touch.
Phil