266

Sam Rivers Trio: Firestorm

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Sam Rivers’s new trio is not just a trio. The avant-garde tenor legend, now in his late 70s, unites with the rhythm section from his Rivbea All-Star Orchestra — bassist Doug Mathews and drummer Anthony Cole. But what the simple word "trio" doesn’t tell you right off is that each player brings to the table prodigious skills on at least three instruments. These eleven independently released tracks were culled from live performances in New York, where audiences have been blessed with the opportunity to hear the trio hone its rapport and spread its message over the past year or so.

The group’s multi-instrumental abilities allow it to move beyond the expected horn/bass/drums sound, particularly on tracks such as "Unity" and "Smoke," where three horns — Rivers and Cole on tenors and Mathews on bass clarinet — spar and interweave with manic energy. Rivers burns on flute, particularly on the closing "Firewall," and plays piano on the title track, while Cole also takes to the bench on "Nightfall" and "Iris." Unfortunately, there’s a terribly sour note on the piano that is hard to ignore, leading one to believe that these tracks were recorded in the same place, perhaps on the same night.

Most of the pieces are free and highly abstract, although "Solace," "Nightfall," and "Iris" contain distinct, consonant harmony. But whether playing free or in a form and tempo, Rivers and his cohorts soar to consistently grand heights, producing sounds that are often unfathomable, always breathtaking. At times, when apparently no instrument is able to convey what’s coursing through his mind, Rivers will just take to screaming like a banshee, or uttering gibberish in response to the maelstrom of sound around him.

Rivers is playing with the enthusiasm and freshness of someone at least 20 years younger, and that’s made clear by his ability to put Mathews and Cole through their paces. And yet his tenor sound possesses an aged, burnished quality that only many decades of experience can yield.


Track Listing: 1. Spark 2. Flame 3. Embers 4. Firestorm 5. Unity 6. Solace 7. Smoke 8. Nightfall 9. Dominant 10. Iris 11. Firewall

Personnel: Sam Rivers, tenor and soprano saxes, flute, piano, vocals; Anthony Cole, drums, tenor sax, piano; Doug Mathews, acoustic and electric basses, bass clarinet

| Record Label: Rivbea Sound | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Alto Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Manhattan
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke" CD/LP/Track Review A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 6, 2016
Read "You'll See" CD/LP/Track Review You'll See
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Motion
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 11, 2016
Read "Smooth Shake" CD/LP/Track Review Smooth Shake
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Xabregas 10" CD/LP/Track Review Xabregas 10
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!