Sam Rivers

jazz’s forgotten man


  • John G. Rodwan, Jr.



Blue Note Records, Impulse Records, Miles Davis, Sam Rivers


‘Sam Rivers: Jazz’s Forgotten Man’ examines the life and work of Sam Rivers and explores the reasons for his relative lack of renown. Though admired by fellow musicians, Rivers never received the level of recognition achieved by Miles Davis or Cecil Taylor, with whom he played and recorded. Factors unrelated to his work itself—such as where he chose to live, when he started recording as a leader, his arrangements with record labels and interactions with younger musicians—largely determined his neglect, which is reflected in music critics’ and historians’ scant discussion of him. The essay considers how a saxophonist compared to John Coltrane can go unappreciated and largely unknown.

Author Biography

  • John G. Rodwan, Jr.

    John G. Rodwan, Jr., is the author of the essay collection Fighters and Writers (Mongrel Empire Press, 2010). His writing has been published by The American Interest, The Oregonian, The Mailer Review, Blood and Thunder, The Nevada Review, Spot Literary Magazine, Palimpsest, Shaking like a Mountain, The Brooklyn Rail, Free Inquiry and The Humanist, among others.


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How to Cite

Rodwan, Jr., J. G. (2013). Sam Rivers: jazz’s forgotten man. Jazz Research Journal, 6(1), 7-25.