Monday, May 28, 2007


long weekend, fo' sho'.

want to express gratitude again to the good people of WKCR for the Sam Rivers fest. the broadcast may be over but the aftereffects linger; still opting for disc three of the Rivers Mosaic box and the excellent Waves more often than not.

trio concert on Friday was quite excellent. really great to see Altschul back on the scene. does anyone have a sense of why he's been so scarce on records, etc. over the past few decades? he sounded great, as did Holland, who took a couple of utterly monster solos, like just hugely physical and lyrical playing--tough, tough bass, i tell you. during his first solo there was a sense of uncaging or some such; maybe i'm playing up the relative inside-ness of his current groups, but i certainly got the sense of a player who hadn't played free in a long time and was just sort of giddy at the wide-openness of it all.

so yeah, there were two sets of total improv. everything was very comfortable and sort of episodic. there was some searching free-time stuff, some uptempo bop, some funky vamps. by the second set there was the slightest sense of the band sort of retreading ground it had covered in the first set, but overall it was a really warm, fun set of music. Sam gave a few effusive speeches and seemed genuinely touched by the experience, which is understandable. there was, as they say, a lot of love in that room.

Rivers sounded awesome. slightly diminished in terms of power, but he can just play and play. he's such a natural improviser, just goes and reacts so sensitively to his colleagues; he really gave them the floor in a sense, really listening when they solo-ed and occasionally punctuating their playing with an encouraging "whoo!" tenor sax dominated and Rivers sounded like his hard-edged usual self on that horn; there was some really nice flute stuff where he was vocalizing along with the playing; would've liked to have heard a tad more soprano, but ah well; and i almost forgot, there was some heartstopping piano: gorgeous, moody, impressionistic rubato stuff--even his bandmates seemed moved by the depth of it. (you know what would rule? a Rivers solo piano disc. anybody?) this was true multi-instrumentalism, with the ideas just spilling over from one ax to the next.

hot stuff, just a perfect cap to a really classy tribute. long live WKCR. word up.

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