Home » Jazz Articles » Sam Rivers / Dave Holland / Barry Altschul: Reunion: Live In New Y...

8

Album Review

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

By

Sign in to view read count
Sam Rivers / Dave Holland / Barry Altschul: Reunion: Live In New York
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 for free jazz that didn't jettison melody for dissonance.

Rivers' prior work with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianists Cecil Taylor and Andrew Hill, Holland's post-electric Davis sound, and Altschul's tenure with pianist Paul Bley created a sort of new sound which could be heard at his now infamous Manhattan Loft sessions.

Certainly these factors set the stage for a historic reunion of the trio. This May, 2007 date at Columbia University capped off a week-long celebration of Rivers by WKCR radio and reunited the three, who hadn't played together in over 25 years.

The nearly one-and-a-half hours of music on two discs was recorded over two lengthy sets of improvised music. The trio glides effortlessly between bebop passages, tonal and atonal breaks and some passionate soloing. Rivers switches between tenor and soprano saxophones, flute and piano, each with its own personality. His tenor paints wide splotches of sound, while his soprano cuts more precise channels. On flute he pops and floats, and his piano sound is informed by a more charming Cecil Taylor. Where Holland's current ensembles featured his organization, here he is freed up to explore without a map. He takes several solos, passages unexpected yet built like a hurricane-proofed structure.

As for Altschul, his absence from the national spotlight parallels Rivers. He popped up on saxophonist Jon Irabagon's minor classic Foxy (Hot Cup Records, 2010), but has been woefully under-recorded as of late. His approach, one of constant dialogue with his partners, is more about accent then beat. He alternately swings, then frees the pulse.

If this recording had been made in 1977 instead of 2007 it would have been a watershed event. Here, it is a masterpiece of a reunion.

Track Listing

CD1 (First Set): Part 1; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; CD2 (Second Set): Part 1; Part 3; Part 4.

Personnel

Sam Rivers: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, piano: Dave Holland: bass: Barry Altschul: drums.

Album information

Title: Reunion: Live In New York | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

Post a comment about this album


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Local Businesses | More...

More

The Source
Kenny Barron
Espérame en el Cielo
Gilbert Castellanos
Permeance
Wade Matthews / Abdul Moimême

Popular

Exude
Francesca Han & Ralph Alessi
Baker's Dozen
The Muffins
Blues & Bach: The Music Of John Lewis
Enrico Pieranunzi Trio & Orchestra
The Border
Douwe Eisenga

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.