Sam Rivers

Live

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The music on this 1998 CD reissue was originally scattered over several releases until it was finally grouped together in 1978 for the double LP The Live Trio Sessions (along with another eight minutes of related material not brought back here). The bulk of the music ("Hues of Melanin") is from a November 10, 1973 Yale University concert that features Rivers with both Cecil McBee and Lewis Worrell on bass along with drummer Barry Altschul. The continuous free improvisation has Rivers stretching out with great length on soprano, flute (complete with very odd vocal sounds), piano, and then (during the final five-and-a-half minutes of the 44-minute performance) tenor. It is a pity that Rivers chose to feature his main ax so sparingly, for this piece would have been much stronger if he had played tenor for 35 minutes rather than just five. The latter part of the CD is from a Norway concert on August 3, 1973 ("Suite for Molde"), with Arild Andersen taking McBee's place. Rivers plays soprano and flute for eight minutes and then tenor for 11 minutes; the latter section is the strongest of the entire disc. Sam Rivers' longtime fans may think of this collection as bordering on the classic, and there are certainly some emotional moments, but Rivers has sounded more consistent elsewhere.

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