All About Jazz

Home » Articles | Reviews Only

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers: Contrasts

Read "Contrasts" reviewed by

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers: Contrasts

Read "Contrasts" reviewed by

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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

Read "Reunion: Live In New York" reviewed by

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers: Fuchsia Swing Song

Read "Fuchsia Swing Song" reviewed by

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers/Ben Street/Kresten Osgood: Violet Violets

Read "Violet Violets" reviewed by

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. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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

Read "Purple Violets" reviewed by

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 ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Purple Violets, Contours and Dance With Death

Read "Purple Violets, Contours and Dance With Death" reviewed by

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Rivers: Contours

Read "Contours" reviewed by

After his Blue Note debut on Fuchsia Swing Song, saxophonist Sam Rivers drifted further “out" on Contours. Reissued as a limited edition connoisseur series CD, this '65 Blue Note outing sparkles anew with 24-bit remastered sound. Playing with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Joe Chambers, Rivers performs four of his more accessible and vigorous compositions. “Point of Many Returns," with its slackened hard bop structure, starts the album with Rivers, Hubbard, and Hancock reinforcing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

NOJO with Sam Rivers: City of Neighbourhoods

Read "City of Neighbourhoods" reviewed by

Led by pianist-tubaist Paul Neufeld and guitarist-conductor Michael Occhipinti, the Toronto-based Neufeld/Occhipinti Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) has been wowing audiences up North for a decade now, but has received scant attention here in the States. City of Neighbourhoods , the group's fourth recording and its first to get an American release, ought to change that. The ensemble, which has expanded as large as sixteen pieces, is down to a tight nonet this time around, but it's called in a ringer guest ...

INTERVIEWS

Sam Rivers: A Giant Among Us

Read "Sam Rivers: A Giant Among Us" reviewed by

[Originally published in the South Carolina Free Times in February 2002] It's been said that jazz is dead.Scores of notable jazz critics have made the claim that jazz, an art form that relies heavily upon change and improvisation, must continue to progress if it is to live and prosper. If the music cannot “constantly reinvent itself," as Ed Bland argues in his 1958 film The Cry of Jazz, then “it will die." Even Wynton Marsalis, the ...