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Mosaic Select: Sam Rivers & The Rivbea Orch.-Trilogy(MS-038)Mosaic Select
"The three CDs in this package show those of us who live outside central Florida some of what we’ve been missing. The mature RivBea Orchestra is a whambam big band with a thoroughly modern sensibility, but also deep roots in Sam’s music." - Kevin Whitehead, liner notes
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies
3 CDs - $44.00
By the time Sam Rivers was able to document his orchestral writing in 1974 (on the Impulse album "Crystals") at the tender age of 51, he was best known for leading a magnificent, purely improvised trio devoid of all written music. But composition was (and is) as much a part of his incessantly fertile mind as improvisation.
His densely-layered and beautifully voiced multi-sectional orchestra pieces burn with an intensity that never forsakes the music's beauty. Rivers seamlessly integrates improvisation into the written score. Solos are distributed democratically as effective, concise statements.
In 1992, Rivers moved to Orlando, Florida where he quickly formed another powerful improvising trio and set about seeking personnel to form an orchestra for the music that he was constantly writing. After two all-star albums for RCA Records in 1998 ("Inspiration" and "Culmination"), recorded in New York, an Orlando edition of the Rivbea Orchestra started to emerge.
Drawn from teachers and students at surrounding colleges, frustrated members of various Walt Disney World aggregations and retired veterans of orchestras like Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman, Sam Rivers crafted a first-class orchestra to realize his music. In 2005, he issued the new Rivbea Orchestra's first recording "Airora" on his own Rivbea label.
When we heard the album, we called Sam to offer our jaw-dropping praise, he told us essentially there is plenty more where that came from and set about sifting through hours of studio and live recordings to cull the three CDs of previously unreleased material contained in this set. The results are forward-thinking and electrifying.
"Anthony Braxton used to point out how multi-vectored, multi-layered music would prepare us for the very kind of world we're living in now, when information streams from multiple devices bombard before we're out of bed. Heard from that perspective, the music of Sam Rivers' RivBea Orchestra is a mirror of modern urban life. There are towering edifices on all sides, and a teeming population thriving within and between.
The thick lines and masses of sound Rivers writes for the orchestra of 14 horns and two rhythm are imposingly complex, and his creative orchestra music doesn't sound like anyone else's: not Sun Ra's, or Braxton's, or Julius Hemphill's. But there are some parallels: to Muhal Richard Abrams's large ensembles that embrace vernaculars from 1920s jazz to atonal concert music, mixing the familiar and novel; to circa-1970 Woody Herman, deploying funk and rock beats on Temptations and Doors tunes; to James Brown's static-harmony horns-and-rhythm funk.
The RivBea Orchestra transcends notions of the traditional and the avant-garde; it's bracingly dissonant, but all about forms and variations. For all Rivers' idiosyncrasies, big band conventions abound: 4 and 8-bar blocks, brass punches, motifs volleyed between horn sections, focused solos, and heart-quickening excitement." - Kevin Whitehead, liner notes
Read More About Sam Rivers:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates »
“I don’t know how to explain it, but at 87, I have greater musical powers than I did when I was 21. These days all I do is practice and write. That’s as close to heaven as I can get, as a non-believer. There’s no such thing as retirement, anyway. Retirement? What is that? Who retires?” - Sam Rivers
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