Friday, May 25, 2007


Tonight I went up to Columbia to hear the Sam Rivers Trio at the Miller Theater. Sam is one of the most under-celebrated figures in jazz, but Columbia's WKCR radio made a real effort to change this by playing 177 straight hours of Rivers' music, culminating in tonight's concert which they streamed live on the web. Rivers was, at 83, as creative and masterful as ever, and Dave Holland on bass was nothing less than stellar.

I came home from the show and pulled out a record I hadn't thought about in a long while - Spring, by Tony Williams, put out by Blue Note in 1965. What a gem.

In 1964, on Tony's recommendation, Sam joined the Miles Davis Quintet. There was only one "official" release: Miles in Tokyo, but there a bunch of bootlegs floating around. Sam was apparently a little too free for Miles' taste, and was replaced shortly thereafter by Wayne Shorter.

On Spring, Tony's second effort as a bandleader, Shorter and Rivers both play tenor on three of the five tracks: Extras, From Before, and Tee. Hearing these two fully formed virtuosi, bobbing and weaving with their contrasting styles, backed up by the rhythm section of Tony, Herbie Hancock, and Gary Peacock, is really something special.