Jazz From Lincoln Center

Rivers Runs Deep: Sam Rivers Duet and Orchestra

Written by David Goren(c) & (p) all rights reserved, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 2001

 1) Music: Willow (Rivers 11/? Alice Tully Hall)  2) Vox: Sam Rivers

"I'm a jazz musician. I'm not confined to one style of music. I'm blues, I'm swing, I'm bebop, and I'm free!"

 

Jeff Rupert:"...the cat is 77, but I think he's got a younger mind than a lot of young

jazz musicians do. // He's coveting the constitution of jazz...it swings, it's about self expression. There are all those elements that have been in jazz since Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet, but yet he's moving on with it..."

 

3) Bradley:

OVER THE PAST SIXTY YEARS, SAXOPHONIST AND COMPOSER SAM RIVERS HAS PLAYED EVERY TYPE OF GIG, FROM ROAD HOUSE TO CONCERT HALL. ALONG THE WAY, RIVERS CREATED STUDIO RIVBEA. NAMED FOR RIVERS AND HIS WIFE BEATRICE, IT WAS GROUND ZERO FOR THE LOFT JAZZ MOVEMENT OF THE 1970'S, WHERE A LOOSE KNIT COMMUNITY OF MUSICIANS EXTENDED THE JAZZ IDIOM.MUSICIANS STILL GATHER AROUND SAM RIVERS, BUT NOW THEY'RE IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA THE CURRENT HOME OF HIS STUDIO RIVBEA ORCHESTRA. THE RIVBEA ORCHESTRA RETURNS TO NEW YORK WITH A NEW WORK ON COMMISSION - AND WE'LL HEAR SAM RIVERS WITH THE DRUMMER AND PIANIST ANTHONY COLE. IT'S JAZZ FROM LINCOLN CENTER. I'M ED BRADLEY.  4) Music: Fletcher Henderson big band

 

5) Vox: Sam Rivers (Alice Tully Hall 11/03) "The jazz orchestra as we know it today was formed in 1923, incidentally the year of my birth. Which is the same group as it stands today...4 trumpets, 4 trombones, and 5 saxophones, bass and drums."

 

6) Bradley:

EVEN AS A CHILD, SAM RIVERS WAS DRAWN TO THE CLASSIC BIG BAND SOUND. THE SON OF GOSPEL MUSICIANS, HE SPENT HIS YOUTH IN CHICAGO AND LITTLE ROCK WHERE HE STUDIED PIANO, VIOLIN, TROMBONE, AND TENOR SAXOPHONE. THOUGH HIS PARENTS WERE STRICTLY RELIGIOUS, THEY DIDN'T SHELTER HIM FROM THE SOPHISTICATED JAZZ BANDS OF THE DAY.   7) Vox: Sam Rivers (April interview)

"We always went to see Count Basie, Duke Ellington. They were very proud of the accomplishments of the jazz musicians although they weren't into jazz themselves...//It was still the devil's music (laughs) but they appreciated it."

 

8) Bradley:

RIVERS STARTED PLAYING PROFESSIONALLY IN THE EARLY 1940s WHILE SERVING IN THE NAVY IN CALIFORNIA. AFTER THE WAR, HE STUDIED AT THE BOSTON CONSERVATORY AND SOON BECAME ACTIVE IN THAT TOWN'S CEREBRAL JAZZ SCENE. INFLUENCED BY THE MANY RESIDENT COMPOSERS, LIKE JAKI BYARD AND CHRIS SWANSON, RIVERS BEGAN TO WORK OUT HIS IDEAS FOR BIG BAND. 9) Vox: Jeff Rupert (JR int. 11/4)

"I've had the opportunity to play with some pretty powerful bands, but Sam's has a different energy to it."

 

10) Bradley:

JEFF RUPERT HOLDS THE FIRST ALTO CHAIR IN THE STUDIO RIVBEA ORCHESTRA.  11) Vox Jeff Rupert (JR int. 11/4)

"It's like this wall of intensity harmonically, // yet it's phrased in a totally new way. It doesn't have punches like you would hear in a conventional big band. The rhythm...it's subtle. If you go to the basic way that big band should play to the days of Sy Oliver which set the standard for how a big band phrases, we're not phrasing that way at all...we're phrasing the way Sam plays....that's his style, //we're adopting that as an orchestra."

  12) Sfx: Sam vocalising the top of tune "Bwee, bwee, bip. bip"

 

13) Bradley:  WE CAN HEAR SOME OF INFLUENCE FROM THE BOSTON YEARS HALF A CENTURY LATER IN NEW YORK. AT LINCOLN CENTER'S ALICE TULLY HALL, SAM RIVERS AND THE RIVBEA STUDIO ORCHESTRA PLAY "IMAGES."   14) Music: Images (7:32)

  1. Bradley:

"IMAGES." SAM RIVERS AND THE STUDIO RIVBEA ORCHESTRA - JAZZ FROM LINCOLN CENTER, I'M ED BRADLEY.  16) Music: Miles Davis in Tokyo

 

17) Bradley:

IN 1964, SAM RIVERS JOINED THE MILES DAVIS QUINTET FOR A FEW MONTHS. SHORTLY AFTER LEAVING DAVIS' BAND, RIVERS WENT ON HIS OWN AND RECORDED "FUSCHIA [FEW-sha] SWING SONG," THE FIRST OF HIS FORWARD-LOOKING SESSIONS FOR BLUE NOTE RECORDS. ONE OF THE TUNES, "BEATRICE," NAMED FOR HIS WIFE AND BUSINESS PARTNER, HAS BECOME A JAZZ STANDARD.  18) Vox : Jeff Rupert (Jr 11/4)

"Beatrice the person is, man, that's the kind of woman any// musician would want to be associated with. "

 

19) Bradley: AGAIN, SAXOPHONIST JEFF RUPERT

"She's supportive of Sam, as Sam is of her. She loves the music. She keeps the band in line. Bea is a person you want in your corner. You don't want to be against Bea."

 

20) Bradley:  THIS IS "BEATRICE."  21) Music: Beatrice (10:09)

 

22) Bradley:

"BEATRICE." SAM RIVERS AND THE STUDIO RIVBEA ORCHESTRA. RIVERS' THREE BLUE NOTE ALBUMS IN THE SIXTIES ESTABLISHED HIM AS A MASTER SAXOPHONE PLAYER, TECHNICALLY DEFT, STEEPED IN TRADITION, BUT OPEN TO THE MOMENT.JEFF RUPERT:

 

23) Vox: Jeff Rupert (JR11/4/00)

"I think Sam's sound on the sax is very unique but you can hear the lineage in it. It's a logical progression//I can hear that Paul Gonsalves intonation, and it's a couple cents off, it adds to the color, it adds to the intensity.//and I hear Eddie Lockjaw Davis, and Jaws has that slippery rhythm, so Sam has that slippery rhythm, but it's not Jaw's rhythm. It's Sam's rhythm, so he's taken another guy's concept and made it his own."

24) Vox: Sam Rivers (11/4/00)

"I pretty much worked out my own style. It was active. I wrote my own exercise books and everything to make sure I didn't sound like everyone else. I listened to everyone too. I listened for appreciation and also to make sure I wasn't sounding like them. "

  25) Music (Sam with Cecil window)

 

26) Bradley:

IN 1967, RIVERS BEGAN A 6-YEAR ASSOCIATION WITH ANOTHER INDIVIDUALIST SEEKING A NEW SOUND: PIANIST CECIL TAYLOR. TAYLOR'S GROUP DEVELOPED ITS METHOD OF COLLECTIVE IMPROVISATION THROUGH LENGTHY, STAMINA BUILDING REHEARSALS, A PRACTICE THAT RIVERS STILL FOLLOWS WITH HIS OWN BANDS.   27) Vox: Anthony Cole (4/16)"Every note that comes out of whatever he's playing, there a determination behind it."

 

28) Bradley:

DRUMMER AND PIANIST ANTHONY COLE PLAYS MUSIC WITH RIVERS ALMOST EVERY DAY – SOMETIMES WITH THE BAND AND SOMETIMES JUST IN DUET.

 

29) Vox: Anthony Cole (4/16)

"The music is no different than the person. Shocking, mellow, dissonant, sometimes confusing. Soothing...all those things."

 

30) Bradley:

AT THE STANLEY KAPLAN PENTHOUSE WITH ANTHONY COLE ON PIANO, SAM RIVERS DIGS HIS TENOR DEEP INTO THE BALLAD, "NIGHTFALL," AND FOLLOWS WITH A FLUTE EXCURSION ON "IRIS."  31) Music: Nightfall/Iris (12:04) (NB:: will prob cut piano solo.)

 

32) Bradley:"IRIS" AND "NIGHTFALL." SAM RIVERS ON TENOR SAXOPHONE AND FLUTE, WITH ANTHONY COLE ON PIANO.  32) Midbreak music: sam on piano possibly.

 

33) Bradley:

SUPPORT FOR JAZZ FROM LINCOLN CENTER COMES FROM N-P-R AND ITS MEMBER STATIONS, WHOSE CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE THE LILA WALLACE READERS DIGEST FUND, SEEKING TO ENRICH COMMUNITY LIFE THROUGH SUPPORT OF EDUCATION, THE ARTS, AND CULTURE. TO SEE THE SCRIPT OF THIS PROGRAM OR FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SAM RIVERS, OR TO HEAR THIS PROGRAM AGAIN, VISIT US AT WWW.JAZZATLINCOLNCENTER.ORG. YOU'RE LISTENING TO JAZZ FROM LINCOLN CENTER, I'M ED BRADLEY

 

34) Vox: (Sam Rivers 11/3)

"I finally found a space to perform the music. It was down on 24 Bond Street. We named the place Studio Rivbea .//It was a very very fertile area and time in NY, and a lot of musicians came at that time. They really had no place to play."

 

35) Bradley:

SAM RIVERS MOVED TO NEW YORK IN 1967 IN SEARCH OF THE SPACE AND MUSICIANS TO REALIZE HIS NEW WORKS. WITH HIS WIFE BEATRICE, HE FOUNDED STUDIO RIVBEA IN AN OLD MANUFACTRING BUILDING WHERE HE COULD REHEARSE HIS ORCHESTRA, HIS WIND ENSEMBLE, AND HIS TRIO. DURING THE 70'S ROCK ERA WHEN JAZZ CLUBS WERE FOLDING, STUDIO RIVBEA BECAME A SORT OF FRONTIER TRADING POST FOR ADVENTUROUS JAZZ MUSICIANS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY.  36) Music: something from "Conference of the Birds" or similar

 

37) Bradley:

SAM RIVERS HAS WRITTEN OVER 300 WORKS FOR JAZZ ORCHESTRA – MANY DEVLOPED AT THE FIRST STUDIO RIVBEA. HIS CHARTS WERE METICULOUSLY WRITTEN AND REHEARSED. BUT WITH HIS TRIO, RIVERS WORKED TOWARD A CONCEPT HE CALLS "SPONTANEOUS CREATIVITY."  38) Vox: Sam Rivers (04/00 int)

"In improvisation, you're playing on changes or embellishing a theme, or variation on a theme//."

 

39) Bradley:

SAM RIVERS  40) Vox: Sam Rivers (04/00 int) 

"Spontaneous creativity is totally different. You go out there with nothing. You don't have anything rehearsed, just your technique and ideas...//I just go up there and start playing//I make up the theme right there."

41) Vox: Anthony Cole (04/00)"You never know what's going to happen, but you expect something to always…"

 

42) Bradley:

ANTHONY COLE:  43) Vox: Anthony Cole (04/00)

"I know that whatever I do, whatever I start with, Sam is going to work off of that and go into something else. It's so wide open...He doesn't dictate a way for you to play. He doesn't want you to be less of player underneath him.//He wants you soloing all the time while you're playing, not waiting for him to get done and then do your thing. He leaves the margins wide open."

 

44) Bradley:

AT THE KAPLAN PENTHOUSE, SAM RIVERS AND ANTHONY COLE ILLUSTRATE "SPONTANEOUS CREATIVITY" ON "IMPROMPTU FOR YOU."  45) Music: Impromptu for You. (5:33 4/16/00)

 

46) Bradley:

"IMPROMPTU FOR YOU" - SAM RIVERS ON THE SOPRANO, AND ANTHONY COLE ON DRUMS.   47) Music: (rivers with dizzy window)

 

48) Bradley:

IN 1987, AFTER NEARLY THIRTY YEARS OF EXPLORING THE FAR REACHES OF JAZZ, SAM RIVERS JOINED UP WITH A JAZZ REVOLUTIONARY FROM THE EARLIER BEBOP ERA: DIZZY GILLESPIE. DIZZY ADMIRED RIVERS' ABILITY TO PLAY THROUGH EVERY CHORD CHANGE.  49) Vox: Rivers (04/16)

"He said you're the only musician I know to play every change.//A lot of guys have phrases they play over the changes. Some guys have phrases that fit all the changes.//I'm playing bar by bar//I'd get lost if I didn't do that when playing in the tradition."

 

50) Bradley:

AFTER FOUR YEARS OF CONSTANT TOURING WITH DIZZY, AND NEARLY SIXTY IN THE JAZZ SCENE, SAM AND BEATRICE RIVERS RELOCATED TO ORLANDO, FLORIDA. AT FIRST GLANCE, ORLANDO IS AN UNLIKELY PLACE FOR AN ACTIVE JAZZ SCENE. BUT SHORTLY AFTER THE RIVERS' ARRIVAL, THEY ASSEMBLED A BAND FROM THE RANKS OF THE MANY PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS WORKING AT DISNEY WORLD AND TEACHING IN LOCAL UNIVERSITIES. THAT BAND HAS BEEN PLAYING TOGETHER FOR ALMOST A DECADE.  51) Vox: Sam Rivers (11/04 int)"If I'm in town we have a rehearsal every Wednesday."

 

52) Bradley:

SAM RIVERS  53)Vox: Sam Rivers (11/04 int)

" It's a very creative scene. I can write something. Then I go in and they can play it down first time down…and I have some complicated music."

 

54) Bradley:

RIVERS' TUNE CALLED "MONIQUE" IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW HE COMBINES WRITTEN AND IMPROVISED PARTS TO CREATE A FRESH SOUND.  55) Vox: Sam Rivers:

"2 or 3 musicians can be improvising on the ballad with the other chords moving, and it will sound like part of the written part, and some of the written parts sound improvised...which is the idea of writing. It's pretty much a spontaneous feel every time you get up there."

 

  1. Bradley:

 "MONIQUE." 57) Music: Monique (5:21)

 

58) Bradley:

THE STUDIO RIVBEA ORCHESTRA WITH "MONIQUE." IT'S NAMED AFTER HIS SECOND DAUGHTER, AND PART OF A 12 BALLAD SUITE CALLED "PROGENY." THIS IS JAZZ FROM LINCOLN CENTER, I'M ED BRADLEY.THE ORCHESTRA PLAYED AT ALICE TULLY HALL TO DEBUT A NEW WORK COMMISSIONED FOR JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER'S SERIES "AS OF NOW." DESPITE RIVERS' PROLIFIC OUTPUT OVER THE YEARS, ALMOST ALL OF THE MUSIC IN THE TWO PERFORMANCES WAS NEW.  57) Vox: Sam Rivers (Alice Tully 11/4)

"I played on quite a few recordings with musicians, and started recording around 1959.//I always noticed no one had the music ready for the session. we were always staying up the night before and sitting in the studio and the producer's getting nervous while everyone's writing the music trying to get it up. I couldn't figure this out because the contract had been signed six months ago. (laughter) So I said I'm just going to write and whenever they call me for anything I'll be ready."

  1. Bradley:

RIVERS TRIES TO WRITE ONE PIECE A MONTH. EVEN WHEN HE'S ON TOUR, HIS HOTEL ROOMS ARE TYPICALLY STREWN WITH MANUSCRIPT PAPER. FOR THE OFFICIAL JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER COMMISSION RIVERS SELECTED HIS LARGE SCALE WORK,"MONSOON."  59) Vox: Jeff Rupert"Monsoon was a real challenge. "

 

60) Bradley:

ALTO SAXOPHONIST JEFF RUPERT: 61) Vox: Jeff Rupert (11/04/00 int)

"The melody is the whole band in unison on it...(sings) The last chord than they're in harmony. But 16 horn players…Unison for Sam's band is kind of unusual so when it happens, it kind of hits you like a monsoon, I guess."

"And then there's this whole thing with all the duets in that thing. Where you get your own solo, but then all poof a sudden you're soloing with someone else."

 

62) Vox: Sam Rivers (11/04/00)"You have to make sure you have the right musicians."  63) Bradley:SAM RIVERS  64) Vox: Sam Rivers (11/04/00)

"Musicians that can improvise and read and be able to improvise in a setting that is structured. Free improvisation is a little different because you have to count. I mean, if we have 16 bars of free improvisation, then everyone has to come in on the 17th bar.//It's a different kind of approach to free."

 

65) Bradley:

FROM ALICE TULLY HALL, SAM RIVERS AND THE RIVBEA STUDIO ORCHESTRA -- "MONSOON."  66) Music: Monsoon (14:21)

 

67) Bradley:

"MONSOON." SAM RIVERS AND THE STUDIO RIVBEA ORCHESTRA FOR JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER'S "AS OF NOW" SERIES.THE RIVBEA ORCHESTRA ALTO SAXOPHONIST JEFF RUPERT DESCRIBES THE JOY OF PLAYING WITH SAM RIVERS: 68) Vox: Jeff Rupert (11/04 int)

"There's times we're playing and Sam wrote some stuff and Sam goes man it worked! It worked! He reminds me of a six year old kid jumping up and down because he learned a new trick on his bicycle., so we're researching. I feel like we're putting on our lab coats and trying stuff out, and to be able to be a researcher in the idiom of grooving and swinging is cool."

69) Music: Jubilee

70) Bradley:

THE STUDIO RIVBEA ORCHESTRA INCLUDES JEFF RUPERT, GEORGE WEREMCHUK [WORM-chuck], REX WERTZ, DAVID PATE, AND CHRIS CHARLES ON REEDS. LYMAN BRODIE, JOHN CASTLEMAN, MIKE IAPICHINO[im-pah-CHINO], AND TOM PARMENTER ON TRUMPET. KEITH OSHIRO[oh-SHEE-ro], ANDREA ROWLINSON, AND DAVE SHEFFIELD ON TROMBONE. MIKE ROYLANCE ON TUBA, DOUG MATHEWS PLAYED BASS VIOLIN AND BASS GUITAR, ANTHONY COLE WAS THE DRUMMER.JAZZ FROM LINCOLN CENTER IS PRODUCED BY JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER AND MURRAY STREET ENTERPRISE NEW YORK. THIS PROGRAM WAS WRITTEN AND POST PRODUCED BY DAVID GOREN.OUR SENIOR PRODUCER IS STEVE RATHE.OUR EDITOR VALERIE GLADSTONE WITH ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS AVE CARRILLO AND JOSHUA JACKSON. THE RECORDINGS WERE MIXED BY SANDRA PALMER GRASSI. THE PRODUCTION TEAM INCLUDES GWENDOLYN DEAN, LEE ANNE BERNARD, AND TRACEY SCHUTTY. THANKS TO SUSAN RADIN, CHRISTA TEETER, ROB GIBSON, AND THE RADIO FOUNDATION.

THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER IS WYNTON MARSALIS. I'M ED BRADLEY, THIS IS N-P-R, WHERE JAZZ LIVES.