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March 29, 2010

"Sizzle" - Sam Rivers

Found a copy of this on vinyl for just $8 at Jackpot Records. Not really known for their jazz collection (mostly shiny, new reissues), but occasionally gems like this surface. On instances I have found Anthony Braxton's The Montreux/Berling Concerts on Arista, AEOC's Bap-Tizum, and even Coltrane Time, a recording originally slated as a Cecil Taylor date, but for marketing purposes was later reissued under United with Coltrane as the leader.

Sizzle is a unique album for my ears. A premonition to 80s Ornette Coleman and his Prime Time band. From my research online, this album has generated mixed reviews. Some claiming it to be the bottom of the barrel for Sam Rivers recordings. I have to admit, most of the Sam Rivers I have in my collection are his late 60s Blue Note releases and a couple of other albums where he appears as a sideman. So I don't have any ground to argue that it isn't, but that doesn't mean I didn't absolutely love this record. I know what your thinking, "this here is a free jazz cat and he doesn't have some of the essential Sam Rivers recordings from the 70s." Well... No excuses... You're right.

What we're provided here is the powerhouse rhythms of Dave Holland and Barry Altschul, major driving forces in the avant-garde during that decade. The session also includes the guitar chops of Ted Dunbar, and Warren Smith laying down vibes & percussion. Sam delivers on flute (Dawn), soprano (Flare), piano (Flame), and tenor (Scud). Holland plays cello for the opening track, Dawn, which creates a juxtaposing perspective over the supplied sounds.

Smith really shines on Flame with his outstanding vibe playing. He keeps right up there with Holland, while Dunbar really accentuates it all with his funky riffs. And Rivers on piano adds a strong, heavy weight to hold down the group from sounding like they're going to take off. Finally, on Scud, you hear Sam's great tenor playing. Showcasing a style he has perfected, relentlessly appearing free and unique.

An explosion of rhythm on top of rhythm, and even on top of rhythm. It's an interesting experiment with the amalgamation of soul, funk, avant-garde, and heavy polyrhythms. This album exemplifies what the title implies... it SIZZLES.
1976 - Impulse.
Sam Rivers - tenor & soprano sax, flute, piano; Ted Dunbar - guitar; Dave Holland - bass, cello; Barry Altschul - drums; Warren Smith - drums, vibes, tympani.

1 comment:

Dale said...

Recently discovered this one myself and I really like it. Wish it would get a CD release!