Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sam Rivers - Contours

For one reason or another, Sam Rivers fails to be mentioned all that much when it comes to the 60's. Considering the amount of brilliant material and ground covered in the 60's, it's understandable that many would get lost in the shuffle, jostling for their place while the likes of Trane, Mingus, Coleman and Miles enjoyed rabid followings. Once you look a little deeper into that terrific period of jazz history though, a plethora of brilliant artists pop up everywhere, and naturally, Sam Rivers is one of them.

Contours, and I guess Sam Rivers in general, enjoys quite a bit of internet-love these days, but this album should be more than enough to change his status from just a foot-note in 60's jazz. This really is one of the best examples of 60's avant garde jazz I have come across. It's still quite indebted to the post-bop idiom, but has many free solos that wander into stranger territory, and the compositions are full of odd changes and quirks. The pairing of Rivers and Freddie Hubbard is brilliant, and they make full use during all of the melodies. Herbie Hancock puts in quite a great performance, having no trouble handling the style.

I could go on, but you should really just give it a listen, and enjoy. Then ramble on as I have, to somebody else.


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