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Sam Rivers - The Quest (Red Records, 1976, 2011)

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Sam Rivers During the mid 1970's multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers was at the forefront of the progressing jazz scene, running the famous jazz loft Studio Rivbea and also recording large and small ensembles for domestic and foreign labels.

This particular recording was with his regular trio of the time, supported by bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul. This trio had been playing together for quite a while, and it really shows with the group turning on a dime, presenting a studio version of their continuous live performances of the period. Each of the four performances recorded here feature one of Rivers instruments, leading off his swirling, nasal soprano saxophone on “Expectation," before moving into the wide open and free flute led improvisation on “Vision."

Rivers' light and agile flute moves through the open ended foundation formed by the bass and drums duo. When the leader moves to piano on “Judgement," the music becomes more fierce, as all three instruments embrace their percussive characteristics. Finally, Rivers' brawny tenor saxophone completes the suite on “Hope," a rough hewn exposition into the very nature of jazz improvisation.

This was a very exciting recording and demonstrates for those who might have might have forgotten what a powerful improviser Sam Rivers was (and remains today.) (BTW, the mp3's I download from amazon appeared to be remastered from vinyl with light pops and crackles appearing during the silent parts. It's nothing that interferes with the music,and besides, if you are an audiophile, why are you buying mp3's anyway?) The Quest— amazon.com


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This story appears courtesy of Music and More by Tim Niland.
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