Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Sam Rivers - Streams (1973)
Sam Rivers was more hesitant than the rest of the first wave free jazz saxophonists to completely cut his playing from any constraints. Fuchsia Swing Song and Contours are somewhat progressive jazz albums still heavily rooted in blues and black roots, but Streams is a total let go from any sense of that. I'm usually not a huge fan of free jazz when it headed into the 70s and beyond, but this is an exception. The small band approach to this wild stuff is refreshing seeing that 10+ piece bands were taking over the avant garde jazz scene at this time. Rivers is backed by one of my all time favorite bassists, Cecil McBee, whose originality and angular nimbleness on the instrument always hooks me. I can't say I'm as familiar with Norman Connors (I've only heard him on a couple of Pharoah Sanders albums), but that doesn't mean he isn't killing it all the way through. Rivers plays his three primary instruments (tenor and soprano saxophones and flute), and he gives these all equal times as if to say "what ideas will come to me when I'm playing this instrument"
Just a fascinating jazz date. Live setting. Ridiculous energy. On Impulse.