Sam Rivers

jazz’s forgotten man

Authors

  • John G. Rodwan, Jr.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jazz.v6i1.7

Keywords:

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

Abstract

‘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.

References

Chinen, Nate (2011) ‘Sam Rivers, Jazz Artist of Loft Scene, Dies at 88’. New York Times, December 28: A16.

Cook, Richard (2001) Blue Note Records: The Biography. Boston: Justin, Charles & Co.

Davis, Francis (2001) Like Young: Jazz and Pop, Youth and Middle Age. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

Davis, Miles, and Quincy Troupe (2005 [1989]) Miles: The Autobiography. New York: Simon & Schuster.

DeVeaux, Scott, and Gary Giddins (2009) Jazz. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Giddins, Gary. (2004) Weather Bird: Jazz at the Dawn of its Second Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hayes, Joseph (2009) ‘Rivers’ Edge’. Orlando Magazine (July), http://www.orlandomagazine.com/.

Hentoff, Nat (2004) American Music Is. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

Himes, Geoffrey (2005) ‘Big Band Master’. Baltimore City Paper, 30 March, www2.citypaper.com.

Kahn, Ashley (2006) The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Lewis, George E. (2008) A Power Stronger than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mandel, Howard. (2008) Miles, Ornette, Cecil: Jazz beyond Jazz. New York: Routledge.

Mercer, Michelle (2004) Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.

Ratliff, Ben. Coltrane: The Story of a Sound. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

Such, David G. (1993) Avant-Garde Jazz Musicians: Performing ‘Out There’. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

Taylor, Yuval, ed. (2002) The Future of Jazz. Chicago: A Cappella Books.

Published

2013-04-19

How to Cite

Rodwan, Jr., J. G. (2013). Sam Rivers: jazz’s forgotten man. Jazz Research Journal, 6(1), 7–25. https://doi.org/10.1558/jazz.v6i1.7

Issue

Section

Articles