From the time of his first Blue Note recording in 1964 to his final session for the label in 1967, Sam Rivers made stunning progress as an avant-garde innovator. Starting with an inside/outside hard bop foundation, Rivers quickly took his music as far out as he could while maintaining a recognizable structure; his work fearlessly explored wildly dissonant harmonies and atonality, dense group interaction, cerebral rumination, and passionately intense, free-leaning solos.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. An overlooked gem from reedman Sam Rivers – and a set that's surprisingly soulful, given that most of his other work from this stretch is much more outside! The album's got a laidback groove on most numbers – with rhythm from Daryll Thompson on guitar, Rael Wesley Grant on bass, and Steve McCraven on drums – often in this midtempo mode that has the electric currents providing a subtle bounce, which opens up as Rivers solos on tenor, soprano sax, and flute! The style's a few steps down from funky fusion, but not that far away, either – and Sam proves to be an expressive soloist in the setting, in ways we really wouldn't have expected. Titles include "Swirl", "Chant", "Coral", "Lazuli", "Ripples", "Dandelions", "Devotion", "Beatrice", and "Sprung".
The trio glides effortlessly between bebop passages, tonal and atonal breaks and some passionate soloing. Rivers switches between tenor and soprano saxophones, flute and piano, each with its own personality. His tenor paints wide splotches of sound, while his soprano cuts more precise channels. On flute he pops and floats, and his piano sound is informed by a more charming Cecil Taylor. Where Holland’s current ensembles featured his organization, here he is freed up to explore without a map. He takes several solos, passages unexpected yet built like a hurricane-proofed structure.
Sam Rivers RIP. INSPIRATION was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual Or Group. Prior to Inspiration, Sam Rivers hadn't recorded for a major label in nearly 20 years, and he hadn't cut a studio session in two decades. That doesn't mean he was inactive; he was teaching, playing, and giving concerts but never recording. Aware that many of Rivers' big-band compositions – not only his recent material, but some earlier works as well – had never been given the proper treatment, saxophonist Steve Coleman helped arrange a recording contract with BMG, with the end result being the astonishing Inspiration album.
Recorded in 1964 immediately after leaving the Miles Davis Quintet, Sam Rivers' Fuchsia Swing Song is one of the more auspicious debuts the label released in the mid-'60s. Rivers was a seasoned session player (his excellent work on Larry Young's Into Somethin' is a case in point) and a former member of Herb Pomeroy's Big Band before he went out with Davis. By the time of his debut, Rivers had been deep under the influence of Coltrane and Coleman, but wasn't willing to give up the blues just yet. Hence the sound on Fuchsia Swing Song is one of an artist who is at once very self-assured, and in transition.
This edition presents, for the first time ever on CD, the complete long unavailable 1976 Villalago performance by the Sam Rivers Trio, featuring Don Pullen as a guest soloist. One of the best exponents of free jazz, this set features Rivers playing tenor and soprano saxophones, flute and piano on an extended exploration of his "Black Africa".