Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Sam Rivers died. He was 88 and had a good long life, but I'm still sad to learn of his passing. Sam came out of Boston, was a familiar of Jaki Byard and Tony Williams. Recorded for Blue Note and Impulse, was a key player in the '70s NYC loft jazz scene. Saw him at Stony Brook ca. '76, opening for Mingus in a trio with Bob Stewart (tuba) and Bobby Battle (drums). Sam started the set on piano, moved to flute, then to soprano, finishing on tenor, sustaining an improvisation for an hour. Later on he moved to Florida, led a big band packed with musos who made their living playing in theme parks, and had another trio with two multi-instrumentalists. I'm glad I got to experience his music.