NoBusiness Records Begins Sam Rivers Archive Series With A Previously Unreleased Trio Recording From 1971


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NoBusiness Records launches its Sam Rivers Archive Series with Emanation (NBCD 118), a previously unreleased performance by the Sam Rivers trio featuring bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Norman Connors recorded at Boston’s Jazz Workshop in 1971.

Produced with the full cooperation of the late composer-improviser’s daughter, Monique Rivers Williams, and the Sam Rivers Estate, the series will consist of eight CDs of music selected from Rivers’ enormous personal archive released over the next four years.

Future albums will include new material from his Orlando trio with Doug Matthews and Anthony Cole and his quartet with guitarist Jerry Byrd, electric bassist Rael Grant, and drummer Steve Ellington. Many groups will appear on disc for the first time, including a trio with bassist Dave Holland and Ellington, Rivers’ tuba quartet featuring Joe Daley, plus big band music and much more. “Monique essentially said to us, ‘Take your pick’ and we are enormously excited by what we found,” says NoBusiness Records producer Danas Mikailionis.

Much of the series will consist of music from a CD wallet that Williams calls, “my father’s heart.” The wallet contained sessions that Rivers was considering for release and he kept it with him up to his last days.

Williams gives a particularly moving example of how much store Rivers put in the wallet’s contents. In January 2006, less than a month after she moved to Florida to care for her aging father, she got a late-night phone call. Her father had been in a car accident on the way back from a gig. Another car had driven him off the road and his car had ended up in a tree. The police said that he seemed okay, but had refused to go to the hospital. Could she come and get him?

“When I got there, I nearly passed out when I saw his car in the tree,” Williams says. “I don't know how he got down, probably with the help of the fire department. As I walked passed the ambulance, he was waiting for me on the sidewalk, sitting on his performance stool, holding something in his hands.” As she got closer to him, she saw that it was the CD wallet. He had taken it with him when he climbed down from the wreckage and kept it with him the whole time.

Other releases come from Rivers’ vast archive of literally hundreds of sessions preserved on reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, CDRs, and a range of obsolete digital sound media formats. They covered Sam Rivers’ career from the early 1970s up to the year he died.

“It was too tempting to resist a dive into the whole archive in search of other possible treasures,” says archive series coordinator Ed Hazell. “In fact, Monique opened up to us the entire contents of Sam’s remarkable collection of recordings, posters, documents, scores, magazine articles, concert programs, and photographs. This lifetime accumulation of materials is enough to fill in excess of 50 storage containers. We are thrilled and honored to be able to present this important music from one of the most creative spirits in the history of improvised music.”

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