All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

7

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

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
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.

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

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Contrasts

Contrasts

ECM Records
2014

buy
 

Violet Violets

Stunt Records/Sundance Music
2006

buy
Violet Violets

Violet Violets

Stunt Records/Sundance Music
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Language CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Language
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley CD/LP/Track Review
Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Earth CD/LP/Track Review
Earth
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Vegir CD/LP/Track Review
Vegir
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 19, 2018
Read "The Songbook Project" CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Project
by Don Phipps
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Avant-Garde Party Music" CD/LP/Track Review Avant-Garde Party Music
by John Sharpe
Published: January 1, 2018
Read "2" CD/LP/Track Review 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Art Zoyd - 44 1⁄2 At A Glance: Selections from the Art Zoyd Box Set" CD/LP/Track Review Art Zoyd - 44 1⁄2 At A Glance: Selections from the...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 2018
Read "Antidote" CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Converging Tributaries" CD/LP/Track Review Converging Tributaries
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 5, 2017