Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I only got a chance to see Sam Rivers play live once, at the Lighthouse in June of 1979. He was there with Dave Holland Joe Daley and Bobby Battle. I was lightly familiar with his music, but that night seared him into my memory banks from that point on. I think the biggest thing I brought away from that night was that these guys were "music" guys, not just jazz musicians, informed by a myriad of different musics. Composition and improvisation, woven together in a seamless mix.

In searching for the date in question, I ran across a website dedicated to Sam's sessionography, and it is an amazing testament to a long life in music. One thing I brought away from that website was the huge number of self-produced shows that were presented by Sam over the years, at Studio RivBea and elsewhere. It's an inspiration to me to see that kind of tenacity by an artist. To just keep putting it out there no matter what, and try to help like-minded souls present their art in a setting appropriate to such endeavors. Having helped curate the Cryptonight series at Club Tropical with Jeff Gauthier for a mere three years, I now have a bit more of a sense of just what an accomplishment that was.

He passed on December 26, 2011 at 88 years old, and his last gig was on October 22.

Pianist/composer/musical director/
neon hunter/host of Portable Universe

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