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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers: Contrasts

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Multi reedist Sam Rivers' 1980 Contrasts in addition to being his only date as a leader for ECM, is a perfect example of his mid-career oeuvre. A sublime balance of intense, almost mystical lyricism and a singular sense of adventure permeates the album that appears for the first time in the CD format and is simultaneously rereleased on LP after 34 years of its initial appearance. The classically influenced “Solace" opens with Rivers' soprano saxophone meandering around percussionist Thurman Barker's sparse marimba strikes and bassist Dave Holland's wistful con-arco phrases. Trombonist George Lewis follows with an eloquent, sometimes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers: Contrasts

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In a significant discography now approaching forty titles as a leader across five decades, Contrasts stands out as the only recording that left-of-center saxophonist/flautist Sam Rivers led for ECM. Originally released in 1980 on vinyl and previously unavailable on CD, it is finally seeing the light of day again as part of the label's Re:solutions series--and in three formats, no less: CD, four for the first time and one only available previously for a limited time in Japan; high resolution digital download for the first time; and vinyl, once again. It's about time. Rivers made his ECM debut ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers / Dave Holland / Barry Altschul: Reunion: Live In New York

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There will be no more opportunities to experience saxophonist Sam Rivers, who passed away in 2011, at 89. Then again, you probably hadn't caught him live in decades, since he chose to live in Florida from the early 1990s, although he did release several large ensemble sessions. His 1960s Blue Note Records and 70s Impulse! dates continue to be treasured classics. What ardent fans and collectors look for these days are his trio LPs with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul. Long out-of-print and treasure-seekers booty, these historic (yet obscure) sounds from Rivers' 1970s trio delineated a new path ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers: Fuchsia Swing Song

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The Music Matters reissue of saxophonist Sam Rivers' Fuchsia Swing Song is likely the finest pressing of this record ever produced. Remastered from the original two- track tapes, and pressed on two 180 gram 45 rpm LPs, this vinyl is dead quiet, and sonically stunning. The instruments are huge in the soundstage and the clarity blows any CD version--and likely most prior vinyl versions--out of the water. Add to that a gorgeous gatefold cover with additional session photos and thick plastic sleeve liners, and this truly ranks as a first-class, ultra deluxe edition of this 1964 Blue Note classic.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers/Ben Street/Kresten Osgood: Violet Violets

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Since this group's first CD was called Purple Violets, what would be more appropriately redundant than naming the sequel Violet Violets? The legendary Sam Rivers did it again--actually both CD's are a result of the same great session, and this is another one without a dull moment. The lineup is the same, except vibraphonist Bryan Carrott is not featured on these tracks.

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers/Ben Street/Kresten Osgood/Bryan Carrott: Purple Violets

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Sam Rivers has the energy of an old Taoist master. On his infrequent trips to Los Angeles, he's relaxed after gigs by mixing it up with local musicians all night long. One such after hours session resulted in Vista, with Adam Rudolph and Harris Eisenstadt. A night in Denmark resulted in Purple Violets, a collection of duets, trios, and quartets featuring Ben Street on bass, Kresten Osgood on drums, and occasionally Bryan Carrott on vibes. Rivers runs in good company--his gorgeous, evocative tone intact on tenor, soprano, and flute. His unique musical vision still mysterious and accessible, and his technical ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Purple Violets, Contours and Dance With Death

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Sam Rivers Purple Violets Stunt 2005

I've frequently called Sam Rivers the most criminally undervalued giant in jazz. But it's getting harder to make that claim: this year the maverick 81-year-old sax legend is up for the Jazz Journalists Association's Lifetime Achievement award, and recently everyone from brilliant young pianist Jason Moran to avant gardist Steven Bernstein to Toronto's NOJO have called on the increasingly esteemed Rivers' services. One of Rivers' latest suitors is the young Danish drummer Kresten Osgood, the driving force behind Purple Violets. Recorded in New York with the bassist Ben ...



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