RIVERS AND RHYTHMS: A SAM RIVERS RETROSPECTIVE

Aired March 2, 2012
WZBC 90.3 FM
Boston College
7-11 p.m. EST
PROGRAM LENGTH: 4 hours

Hosted and Produced by Brian Carpenter
Co-hosted by Allan Chase and Russ Gershon

Special Guests: Barry Altschul, Steven Bernstein, Steve Coleman, Joe Daley, Dave Holland, Doug Mathews, Jason Moran, Julian Priester, and Warren Smith. 

ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY

A three-hour retrospective on the incredible career of composer, improvisor, bandleader, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers, who passed away in December 2011 at the age of 88. The first half of the program covers his time in Boston, his work in the 1960s on seminal Blue Note recordings, and his free jazz recordings as an integral part of the New York loft scene of the 1970s. The second half of the program establishes Sam Rivers as a major jazz composer, focusing on his compositional work for both small group and orchestra combinations such as The Winds of Manhattan and the Rivbea Orchestra.

 

About the hosts

Brian Carpenter is a songwriter, composer, bandleader, and producer based in Boston. He has produced several radio programs, including The Sound of Horror: Sound Design in Science-Fiction and Horror Films, now used in classrooms around the world to study film sound. Carpenter was a friend of (and occasional booking agent for) Sam Rivers in Florida in the mid-to-late 1990s. Rivers performed with his trio at Carpenter's wedding in Gainesville, Florida in 2000. It was the last time they would see each other after Carpenter moved to Boston the following year.

Allan Chase is a jazz saxophonist and composer, and chairs the Ear Training department at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is a former Dean of Faculty and chair of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory, and has also taught at Tufts University. He grew up in Phoenix and studied composition at Arizona State University, jazz at New England Conservatory, and ethnomusicology at Tufts University. He appears as a soloist on over 35 recordings with artists including Rashied Ali, John McNeil, Bruno Råberg, Joe Morris, Steve Lantner, Dominique Eade, Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet, John Zorn, and Gunther Schuller, and  two CDs of his own featuring Lewis Nash and Matt Wilson. 

Russ Gershon is a saxophonist, composer, teacher, and founder of the Either/Orchestra, a critically acclaimed large jazz ensemble in existence for over 30 years. He is the founder of independent Boston label Accurate Records, which released titles from Morphine, Medeski Martin and Wood, Ghost Train Orchestra, and others.

 

ABOUT THE GUESTS

Barry Altschul is a free jazz and hard bop drummer who gained fame in the late 1960s with the pianists Paul Bley and Chick Corea. Throughout the 1970s he performed in the Sam Rivers Trio with bassist Dave Holland and recorded on several records with Rivers, including Hues (1973) and Sizzle (1975).

Steven Bernstein is an American trumpeter, composer, and arranger best known for his work in The Lounge Lizards, Sex Mob, and the Millennial Territory Orchestra. He met Sam Rivers' trio through Brian Carpenter's Gainesville Jazz/Pop Festival in 1998 and recorded with Sam shortly thereafter on Diaspora Blues (2002).

Steve Coleman is a saxophonist, composer, and improvisor. He is a major force in contemporary jazz, and the leader of the Five Elements and has recorded dozens of albums with the ensemble. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he performed with Sam Rivers' RivBea Orchestra and the through-composed album Colours (1982). In 1999, Coleman produced the Sam Rivers records Inspiration and Culmination. In 2014, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant. 

Joe Daley is a tubist and improvisor based in New York City. He has performed and recorded with Sam Rivers, Muhal Richard Abrams, Carla Bley, Bill Cole, Jayne Cortez, Bill Dixon, Dave Douglas, Ellery Eskelin, Gil Evans, George Gruntz, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, Howard Johnson's Gravity band, Taj Mahal, Sam Rivers, Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Hazmat Modine, Assif Tsahar and the Brass Reeds Ensemble, and more. He was a part of Sam Rivers' tuba trio in the 1970s and recorded on Crystals (1974), Tuba Trio Volumes 1, 2 and 3 (1976), Waves (1978),Crystals (1974), Tuba Trio Volumes 1, 2 AND 3 (1976), Waves (1978), Inspiration (1999), Culmination (1999)

Dave Holland is an English jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader who has been performing and recording for five decades. He has lived in the United States for over 40 years. His work ranges from pieces for solo performance to big band. He has explained his musical philosophy by quoting Sam Rivers: "Sam said, 'Don't leave anything out – play all of it.'" Holland has played and recorded with some of the greatest names in jazz, including Miles Davis, and has participated in several classic recording sessions. He performed and recorded with Sam Rivers and Barry Altschul on Sizzle (1975), Waves (1978), Contrasts (1981), with his own quartet on Conference of the Birds and two duet records with Sam Rivers released in 1976.

Doug Mathews is an American bassist performed with the Sam Rivers Trio and the RivBea Orchestra from 1993 up until his passing. In addition to basses, he played bass clarinet in the trio. He is one of Central Florida's most in-demand bassists. Doug Mathews and Brian Carpenter performed in the free jazz ensemble Beat Science in the late 1990s. After Rivers' passing, Mathews has taken up the torch and led the RivBea Orchestra on regular performances in Orlando to continue performing Sam's orchestral music, much of which was never recorded.

Jason Moran is an American jazz pianistcomposer and educator, heavily involved in multimedia art and theatrical installations. Moran recorded first with Greg Osby and debuted as a band leader with the 1999 album Soundtrack to Human Motion. Since then, he has released eight other albums--with his trio The Bandwagon, as joined by saxophonist and pianist Sam Rivers for their album Black Stars (2001), included in NPR's "The 50 Most Important Recordings Of The Decade."

Julian Priester is an American jazz trombonist, composer, and improvisor. He has performed and recorded with many artists, including Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Sam Rivers. With Rivers, he recorded on Dimensions and Extensions (1967) and Hints on Light and Shadow (1997).

Warren Smith is an American jazz percussionist and a founding member of Max Roach's percussion ensemble M'Boom. In the 1970s and '80s, Smith and Rivers managed lofts Studio Wis and Studio RivBea, respectively. The loft scene worked as a performing and recording space for many young New York jazz musicians. Smith recorded with Rivers on Hues (1973), Crystals (1974), and Sizzle (1976).

 

GALLERY



AUDIO

Download the entire documentary on iTunes.

Episode 1: Biography and Boston (1923-1964)

 

Episode 2: The Blue Note Years and the New York Loft Scene (1964-1973)

 

Episode 3: Studio Rivbea and the New York Loft Scene (1973-1979)

 

Episode 4: Crystals, Colours, and Compositions for Orchestra (1974-2007)