Sam Rivers/Ben Street/Kresten Osgood: Violet Violets (2005)
The young and very talented Danish drummer Kresten Osgood suggested this project to the Danish Stunt jazz label. Other results of Osgood's initiatives have included gigs and/or recordings with Oliver Lake and Dr Lonnie Smith.
The musicians follow each other in a close and intuitive interplay, giving lots of playing space to Rivers. The opening track, "Nature Calls," written by Rivers, features him on flute, and his light and joyful dance is delightfully accompanied by Osgood's melodic drumming and Ben Street's ostinato bass.
All but three tunes were composed by the band members, mostly Osgood. The two-minute long "Fast Response" is a duet between Osgood and Rivers in the free improvisational mode that runs through most of the tracks. A refreshing version of Ornette Coleman's "Invisible" is followed by Lucky Thompson's "I Forgot To Remember," a bluesy tune played with a warmth and sincerity that shows how lyricism and spirituality can be two sides of the same coin. Soothing music, to unwrinkle your forehead...
On the latter track Ben Street plays a nice bass solo, and the session provides plenty of interesting drumming, interplay, and above all, Rivers' unique playing. His remarkable tone is in a class of its own, just like the deep musical content of his playing. The fact that he has spent a lifetime developing it is not the only reason he sounds this great. Not everyone performs on such a high level at the age of 82, but in Sam Rivers' case, there has definitely been no decline with age... truly the opposite.
Track Listing: Nature Calls Part 1; Horatio; Invisible; Past Response; I Forgot to Remember; No Time Toulouse; What A Difference A Day Made; Lace; Chianti Blues; Nature Calls Part 2.
Personnel: Sam Rivers: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute; Ben Street: bass; Kresten Osgood: drums.
Record Label: Stunt Records/Sundance Music
Style: Modern Jazz