Sam Rivers

Sam Rivers is one of the greatest jazz legends of our time, performing for over 70 years. In the 1970’s he was the first artist to open a jazz cultural arts center in Greenwich New York, which was used as a venue to help artist exhibit their talents and gain recognition. Sam has maintained his various bands; The Sam Rivers Trio, The Sam Rivers Quartet and The Rivbea Orchestra.

Over the years Sam Rivers has composed a myriad of scribbles, musical phrases, technically difficult, twists, turns and whatever ideas he would conceive similar to an exercise in free association. Thematic material, which he estimates; will take at least a decade to expand into compositions ranging from 5 to 50 minutes. Through habit and as a mental exercise, he composed at least a page a day through a speed process of 15 minutes to a half an hour.

Sam Rivers’ entire life has entailed being an improviser, principle soloist and solo performer. His musical thoughts are transferred to paper in the same way that he improvises. He writes down improvisations as if he is performing a spontaneous creative composition.

Sam spent most of his time copying each part as he does in composing; trying to make each part a solo. He stated that each part should be able to perform alone with the bass and drums.

This music is part of his repertoire of over 400 original compositions for a Jazz Orchestra. Two of the compositions have been commissioned by, and all are dedicated to, the Lincoln Center for the Arts.

“I have the distinct honor of being the only musician in the history of jazz to have performed and/or recorded with the most important musicians in blues, swing, bebop and the avant garde.”

He has been playing solo or with various artist in bands with a multitude of some of the greatest musicians of this century. Such musicians as:

Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Taylor, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Miles Davis, Billy Holliday, Winton & Branford Marsalas , BB King, Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Witherspoon, T-Bone Walker, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Dave Holland, George Lewis, Anthony Braxton, Kevin Eubanks, Ron Carter, Arthur Blythe, Nathan Davis, Chico Freeman, Santi Debriano, Norman Connors, Joe Daley, Thurman Barker, Hal Galper, WarrenSmith, Archie Shepp, Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Roy Hargrove, Thurman Barker, Chaka Kahn as well as 100’s of others.

The 2 time Grammy Award Nominee felt truly fortunate to be able to present to you some of the music he has spent his life creating.

Related News

DownBeat Critics Poll Results: Jazz Album: Sam Rivers/Dave Holland/Barry Altschul Reunion: Live in New York #3 Record Label: Pi Recordings #3

“Vibration is essence for the alto saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman, whose nearly 30-year output as a leader suggests one long investigation… This is tangled funk with a higher calling, furious mainly in its focus.”, Nate Chinen New York Times

4.5 Star Review for Steve Coleman’s Functional Arrhythmias by Shaun Brady,DownBeat

4 Star HotBox Review Jonathan Finlayson’s Moment & the Message by John Corbett, DownBeat

“Finlayson… straddles the mathematical and the colloquial so well on this debut that he seems bound for the stature of Coleman, Lehman and Tim Berne, and even of the great Henry Threadgill before them. Finlayson’s clean-pitched agility and fresh phrasing steer the set, but innovative new guitarist Miles Okazaki, young Cuban pianist-of-the-moment David Virellesand some memorable compositions make it already a landmark among 2013’s releases.” 4 Stars, John Fordham, The Guardian UK

posted on August 19, 2013 by Seth


A collection of some recent press below:

2nd in Jazz Critics’ 2012 Album of the Year Poll -Rhapsody

Rob Johnson’s Top Album of the Year -The Examiner

“At 83, Rivers rises to the occasion with a sustained power that would be remarkable coming from an artist half his age. Considering how few albums this trio recorded during its time together … Reunion is an unexpected gift.” - Jazz Times, Lloyd Sachs

“Rivers’ ’70s trios — this one especially — pointed out a full range of possibilities to many freewheeling combos that came later.” - NPR Music, Kevin Whitehead

“The 90 minutes of music here (all improvised) vibrate with an intensity, freedom and unspoken connection that recollects the loft scene’s ’70s glory without explicitly referencing it. The recording quality is unimpeachable, but what is far more interesting is how these players’ approaches to music have evolved over three decades without losing their essential magic.” - Orlando Weekly, Jason Ferguson

“The two improvised sets they played were marvelous, picking right up where they left off in 1978—strong, swinging, and incisive, with not a hint of hesitation or tentativeness.” - Chicago Reader, Peter Margasak

“… the results prove to be surprising, quizzical, and “fuck yeah” exhilarating. This quintet — the leader on tenor and soprano, trumpeter Amir ElSaffar (with whom Modirzadeh co-led Radif Suite), pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Royal Hartigan — plays with so much range and feeling and technique that they at times sound nearly orchestral… It’s a powerful statement from a composer, instrumentalist, and band that deserve your time and acclaim.” -, Jason Bivins

“Highly innovative, Post-Chromodal Out! manages to seamlessly bridge the exotic and the familiar into one of the most captivating releases of the year.” -, Lawrence Joseph

“… it sometimes sounds like early ’60s Miles Davis translated into a foreign language. Many have blended jazz with foreign musics, but few have been as successful in recent times as Modirzadeh.” - Jazz Times, Mike Shanley

posted on October 13, 2012 by Seth

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