All ten selections on Hues are titled by a particular color. Four of the ten trio performances are studio and six are live performances. Rivers is accompanied by drummer Norman Conners and bassist Cecil McBee on "Amber"; Connors' skin work is noteworthy, and Rivers's tenor sax cries and whines like a hungry newborn. Rivers switches to flute on "Turquoise," where he's pushed by Connors' impressionistic drum rolls. The piano is Rivers's instrument of choice on "Rose"; the melody and tempo changes enhance the beauty of the superbly executed, intricate arrangement. "Chartreuse" is mysterious, strange, and mid-Eastern-ish, and Rivers plays the mind-stretching piece on soprano sax. "Mauve" and "Indigo" were both recorded in performance, and Rivers's sidekicks are Richard Davis (bass) and Warren Smith (drums & percussion). The former is as haunting as anything here; Rivers' tenor sax seems to be exploring the brain, while Davis keeps a low profile, and Smith does percussion tricks. Staying with tenor on "Indigo," he delivers his most straightforward performance. The final four cuts were also recorded live. Avld Anderson playing bass and Barry Altschul handling drums and percussion complement Rivers on imaginative selections like "Onyx," with its mixed styles and African chants. It segues into "Topaz" without missing a beat, and Rivers' flute work is full of vigor then mellows a bit before energizing and racing with Anderson and Altschul to end the track. On "Ivory Black," Rivers tickles the ivories like he's playing a soundtrack cut for a mystery; his counterparts provide a sound canvas for Rivers's stringent playing. "Violet" sounds like the esoteric sounds John Coltrane became acclaimed for. Hues is thoroughly enjoyable and should be reissued.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Andrew Hamilton