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Sam Rivers Trio :: Firestorm
by Ron Sagye La Rue

2000 Rivbea Music Prod- BMI

How Many instruments are in a trio may sound like an odd statement. But not really, when you consider,that three musicians play nine instruments between them. Sam Rivers plays flute,soprano and tenor sax,piano and voice! If you've followed Rivers career you already know he's been a multi- instrumentalist for decades. And he surely was not the first,Sidney Bechet,Johnny Hodges and Eric Dolphy to the Art Ensemble of Chicago to name a few. But what makes this trio unique,is that bassist,Doug Mathews plays electric bass,bass clarinet and drummer Anthony Cole plays tenor sax and piano!

This CD is Sam Rivers! And his sound is unmistakable one might think another tenor player could be intimidated. Listen to "Dominat" the way Rivers tenor slashes cuts while Cole plays counter rhythmic phrases,as Mathews bass clarinet broods along in the lower register. At certain points the music sound Baroque in nature. On "Spark" Rivers is on soprano and the sparks do fly! Kind of a hip East Coast swagger with tastefull drumming and solid bass guitar accompaniment. Flame begins with Rivers again on soprano Cole is on tenor and Mathews is back on bass clarinet. Embers is an acoustic bass solo by Mathews and is a dedication to his late father and nicely done.

Firestorm introduces Rivers on piano and brings to mind his one-time band mate Cecil Taylor but only slightly he has a romantic way with his approach to chords and phrasing for the first five minutes. The drummer comes in and shortly after the firestorm begans--Sam is something else on piano! Cole plays with the drive and fire like Andrew Cyrille did with Cecil Taylor but has his own ideas. There are so many moods that the trio creates on this recording for instance Solace is exactly what the title implies a relaxed Bossa Nova feel--yes!Rivers is on tenor smooth and graceful Mathews plays acoustic bass and bass clarinet;Cole is on drums and tenor and coasts easily in a supporting role. Nightfall has drummer,Cole on piano and he plays very romantically then ferociously attacks the keyboard. Sam on tenor infuses the piece with a warmness that Billie Holiday would have enjoyed singing on top of.He did play with her in 1950s. Iris has Rivers on flute and any flute-only player should be envious of his delicate sonorous sweet sound. Sam Rivers "Firestorm" is that and more there are so many wonderful moments on this CD that play to so many human emotions.

You really can't go wrong with this recording Straight ahead,avant-garde,light latin feel and it all works well. The music on this CD is culled from different live performances in New York

published 16.04.2005 2005 jazz news :: home page

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