7 March 2009

More Sam Rivers

Following "The Quest", here's some more Sam Rivers, partly from records, partly from unreleased concert recordings. Three sets up this time, which have one thing in common - they're all trios (as was "The Quest"). It seems that Rivers often worked in the trio format, though his older Blue Note records employed larger groups and he did also work on and off with even larger constellations.

The first one up is "Hues", a series of different trios recorded over a period of several years.

The basic facts:

Sam Rivers - Hues

Impulse IMPL 8007, (ASD 9302)

01 - Amber
02 - Turquoise
03 - Rose
04 - Chartreuse
05 - Mauve
06 - Indigo
07+08 - Onyx+Topaz
09 - Ivory Black
10 - Violet

Tracks 7 & 8 run into each other.


A. - tracks 1, 2, 3 - Recorded in performance at The Jazz Workshop, Boston, 13 Feb 1971.

Sam Rivers - tenor sax, flute
Cecil McBee - bass
Norman Connors - drums & percussion

B. - track 4 - Recorded in performance at The Jazz Workshop, Boston, 14 Feb 1971.

Sam Rivers - soprano sax
Cecil McBee - bass
Norman Connors - drums & percussion

C. - tracks 5, 6 - Recorded in performance at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, 27 Oct 1972.

Sam Rivers - tenor sax
Richard Davis - bass
Warren Smith - drums & percussion

D. - tracks 7, 8 - Recorded in performance at Molde Jazz Festival, Norway, 3 Aug 1973.

Sam Rivers - soprano sax, flute
Avild Andersen - bass
Barry Altschul - drums & percussion

E. - tracks 9, 10 - Recorded in performance at Battel Chapel, Yale University, US, 10 Nov 1973.

Sam Rivers - soprano sax, flute
Cecil McBee - bass
Barry Altschul - drums & percussion

My basic criticism of this record is not the music itself, but the limitations of the medium. As the average piece clocks in at about 4 - 5 minutes, you don't get more than snippets and snapshots of what I presume to be much longer sessions. Rivers is a musician that needs space to stretch out, but the snips do give a flavour or perhaps different hues of his multi-instrumental talents. I guess it's Rivers on piano on track 3, though not credited as such in the info I have.

The second set, from Foggia, Italy, is a sizzler, scorcher, killer; it fries, burns, cooks for well over an hour. No info on this one, but listening to it, it sounded very much like Dave Holland, though I was less sure that the drummer was Barry Altschul. In fact, one has to wait until the brief announcements towards the end to find out that it was Steve Ellington, with whom Rivers worked in his 60s Blue Note period. Rivers is obviously having a ball, ripping into a bit of scat singing at the end; Holland is playing his fingers off and Ellington is right on the dot. Rivers switches between tenor, soprano and flute and as mentioned, a bit of vocalising. You can sense that these guys know it each other by the ultra-tight interaction throughout. It reminds me a bit of the Buschi Niebergall trio I posted a while back in its sheer intensity and telepathic communication. This set is definitely among the best of the stuff I've posted here and one to come back to again and again.

The final set is from Warsaw:

The Sam Rivers Trio

Sam Rivers
Anthony Cole
Doug Mathews

recorded 6-24-00 at
The Warsaw summer Jazz Days

Coming off the Rivers/Holland/Ellington trio, this sounds bland to these ears; having nothing of the drive and intensity of the Foggia set. Both Cole and Mathews play a multitude of instruments in addition to bass and drums, but it doesn't match the 70s/80s concerts on offer here. Anyway, that's the first impression; with repeated listenings I may hear differently.

Dig in and enjoy!


kinabalu said...

These are all mp3, downloaded from Usenet years ago.




Simon666 said...

Hello there,
Thanks for this post. I’ve linked to your page from my post of Norman Connors – “Dance Of Magic”, which includes a sideman discography. This Rivers album was, in fact, the final piece of the puzzle for that one :)
All the best,

Anonymous said...

The "snipets" of "Hues" have been published in their full version on the double LP "The Live Trio Sessions" in the "Dedication Series/ Vol. XII (Impulse! IA - 9352-2) in 1978 under the title "Hues of Melanin -Part One (The Soprano Saxophone Section)(15'30), "Hues of Melanin - Par Two (The Flute and the Vocal Section)(18'47), Hues of Melanin - Part Three (Ivory Black: The Piano Section)(4'13), Hues of Melanin Part Four (Violet: The Tenor Saxophone Section)(5'38) completed by an "Encore" (3'05), "Mauve (4'17), "Indigo" (1'28). For the Molde Festival, side D of the record is divided in the two parts of "Suite For Molde - Part One a/ Onyx (the Soprano Saxophone section), b/ Topaz (the Flute Section) (08'06) and "Suite for Molde - Part Two (the Tenor Saxophone section) who clock' at 11'27.
This have find also its way in CD in 1998 under the title of "Sam Rivers: Trio Live" but without "Encore", Mauve" and "Indigo" and with a default in one the piece (a silence of less than a seconde). Richard Davis has disapeared from the credential (he was only feature on the deleted pieces). The name of Lewis Worrell (on bass) was print in the back cover of the CD but doesn't appear in the personnal list of the booklet (?).
Thanks for the "Live in Foggia".

free bones said...

Outstanding! I love Sam Rivers, and this is like a treasure trove! I've always been a visitor here at inconstant sol, and I will continue to be for a long long time! Many thanks for these lovely shares!

kinabalu said...

simon666, glad to have filled in the final piece.

Thanks for the added discgraphical details. I did feel a bit short-changed by this record, so good to know there are fuller versions out there. I shall investigate ...

Art Simon said...

Awesome post! I love Rivers when he grooves, and Hues lets loose! I hadn't heard this one and I love it! In return, here's my own rip of my (previous?) favorite Sam Rivers album, Crosscurrent a 1991 recording Live at Jazz Unité, Paris, France with Sam Rivers (p, fl, ss, ts, Compositions)
Jerry Byrd (g)
Real Wesley-Grant (el-b)
Steve Ellington (dr)
I stupidly sold my LP because I thought a CD version existed, but apparently it doesn't. Thanks so much!

8mmbolex said...

a treasure trove! amazing post. many thanks.

Art Simon said...

Oops, I meant to say that Crosscurrent is a 1981 recording. Thanks again!

paul w. said...

hi kinabalu, i checked carefully the sam rivers sessionography by rick lopez and foggia trio recording with holland and ellington is very likely from 1980, most probably between february and april of 1980... many thanks for this link.
paul w.

kinabalu said...

paul w,

I forgot to mention in the main post that the actual file name is "Sam Rivers Trio 4-30-80", supporting your finding.

wightdj said...

Thanks, can't get enough of Sam!

Art Simon said...

Here's another 1981 recording, this one a muffled audience recording I got from the now defunct Huppes blog. February 10, 1981 / Tut's, Chicago, IL.
Sam Rivers (ts, ss, fl, p)
Jerry Byrd (el-g)
Skip "Crumby" Bey (el-b)
Steve Ellington (dr)

downlowsoul said...

That live trio recording with Holland and Ellington is massive creative energy. Many thanks--those sounds that have been relentlessly playing in my ears since Sunday.

Your blog is a University. Keep up the good work!

E S said...

Don't miss this great sam rivers trio recording PARAGON over at the blog nothing is. i have been listening to this for 30 years now and I can't wait to hear it again…


A+ espacetime

Eric S said...

Thank you! This is a great album.

SlimStew said...

Thanks!! The Foggia set KILLS!

Mike said...

Extremely late to this particular party, but researching Sam Rivers as a possible top 25 all-time jazz musician... he's certainly the most difficult I've looked into, with most of his post Blue Note sides languishing in obscurity.

Always liked him, but to put him in the same company as Coltrane, Louis, Charlie Parker, Miles and Mingus and so on does seem a stretch.

But thanks for these invaluable downloads! I feel sorry for Sam, always relegated to the small labels to get his fine music recorded at all.

Anonymous said...

Would a reup be possible? Thanks so much - Alex