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December 31, 2011

They Say They Come In Threes

Fuchsia Swing Song by Sam Rivers on Grooveshark
I am late to the game here but I just wanted to post some words on the passing of Sam Rivers along with visual artists John Chamberlain and Helen Frankenthaler. If you follow Howard Mandel's Jazz Beyond Jazz blog then you probably noticed all of the great content on Sam Rivers he's posted in memoriam (and here).

I have always admired Sam Rivers. He was adaptable as he was individual. Most notable for me was his work on Dave Holland's Conference of the Birds, and his own Impulse release Sizzle. But also his incredible, forward looking records on Blue Note. Particularly notable was Fuchsia Swing Song, which is discussed by Ethan Iverson here.
John Chamberlain and Helen Frankenthaler were both artists in the Abstract Expressionist vein. Post war creatives that were part of the scene that brought Modernism to its apex. I had the great pleasure of spending hours upon hours with Chamberlain's work when I was employed at Dia:Beacon, an intensely large contemporary art space devoted to large scale, conceptual, pop, earth, minimalist Art and beyond.
Chamberlain took the aesthetics of Pollock or De Kooning and gave them substance as three dimensional objects using repurposed metals as his medium. Frankenthaler, an artist I must admit don't know as much about, focused on color field arrangements using organic shapes and elements in her canvas paintings.
Sam Rivers, John Chamberlain ,and Helen Frankenthaler were great individuals among individuals. In a world that ultimately seems more and more collective in the creative realm these three have left an invaluable impact on sculpture, painting, and sound.
Photo Credits: Photo of Sam Rivers by Francis Wolff / John Chamberlain's The Line Up / Helen Frankenthaler's Southern Exposure.
Happy New Year. I'll be writing about some new music coming out of Brooklyn at the start of 2012.

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