Sam Rivers Quartet


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Sam Rivers (September 25, 1923 – December 26, 2011) was a musician known for his distinctive sound and style, particularly on the tenor saxophone.

It wasn’t until he was nearly 40 years old that he began to gain recognition, leading a group in Boston that featured a young Tony Williams on drums. He also had a brief stint as a member of the Miles Davis Quintet in 1964 and secured a recording contract with Blue Note.

While Sam Rivers was closely associated with the avant-garde jazz movement for much of his career, he also demonstrated a knack for swinging hard, as evidenced by his notable tenure with Dizzy Gillespie in the 1980s.

In this video from 1989, Sam Rivers performs his original composition “Sprung,” which is based on the chord changes of “Autumn Leaves.” This performance took place at a concert in Stuttgart, Germany, with a young quartet featuring guitarist Darryl Thompson (the son of Lucky Thompson) and the following personnel:

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

– Scott Yanow


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