Sam Rivers/Ben Street/Kresten Osgood/Bryan Carrott: Purple Violets (2005)
A straight-ahead groover, "Solace," has Rivers joyfully dancing through the simmering rhythm section. Carrott takes a turn with some Monkish vibes, as Osgood and Street power the expedition. Ellington's "The Mooche" becomes a loping trio that launches Rivers' improvised soprano flights. Osgood turns in a very melodic drum solo. A stirring example of Rivers' sizzling free imagination, "Captain America" hurtles on invisible design. An obtuse samba, "Abalone," has Carrott again sharing the front line. Effortlessly negotiating the spiny theme, he emerges unscathed and sets the stage for Rivers, whose tenor sails a balance between virtuosity and taste.
Osgood and Street establish another mean momentum on "In Search of Buck Benny," and Rivers blows it down delighted. A duet with Osgood, "Turbulence" spins both musicians like adrenaline dust devils. Osgood dusts with the brushes on the languid "Where to Go?!?" Rivers sings soulfully on tenor, countered by Carrott's shimmering vibes. Rivers and Carrott square off for the apparently improvised "Space," a treacherous flash of inspiration that incinerates in four minutes. A moody flute trio, "Moderation," lets Rivers wring buckets of melody out of his instrument with halting rhythm accompaniment.
Purple Violets shows Rivers still at the top of one of the greatest games in jazz. Long may he rave.
Track Listing: Solace; Mooche; Captain America; Abalone; In Search of Buck Benny; Turbulence; Where to Go?!?; Moderation; Space.
Personnel: Sam Rivers: tenor, soprano saxophone, flute; Ben Street: bass; Kresten Osgood: drums; Bryan Carrott: vibraphone.
Record Label: Stunt Records/Sundance Music
Style: Modern Jazz