Sam Rivers Day

Sam Rivers (1923-2011)

Sam Rivers swings “Sprung” in 1989

Sam Rivers (Sept. 25, 1923-Dec. 26, 2011) always had his own sound and style, particularly on tenor

He was nearly 40 before he began to gain attention, leading a group in Boston with a teenaged Tony Williams on drums, being a member of the Miles Davis Quintet for
a short time in 1964, and getting signed to Blue Note.

While associated with the avant-garde throughout much of his career, Rivers could swing hard too as he showed during a notable stint with Dizzy Gillespie in the 1980s.

Sam Rivers performs his original “Sprung” (based on the chord changes of “Autumn Leaves”) in 1989 at a concert in Stuggart, Germany with a young quartet that includes guitarist Darryl Thompson (Lucky’s son).


Sam Rivers, tenor sax
Darryl Thompson, guitar
Rael Wesley Grant, electric bass
Steve McCraven, drums

– Scott Yanow