Archive for Dave Holland

Sam Rivers – Zip!

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , , on December 20, 2016 by telescoper

And now for something completely different. About five years ago I wrote a post aftering reading of the death, at the age of 88, of the legendary jazz musician Sam Rivers who passed away on 26th December 2011. Sam Rivers was born in 1923 and started playing professionally during the bebop era of the early 1950s. Later he evolved a unique avant garde style that was nevertheless firmly based in the jazz traditions he had grown up with. He was probably best known as a tenor saxophonist, but could also play flute, clarinet, piano and viola.

I first heard Sam Rivers on Humphrey Lyttelton’s BBC Radio Show The Best of Jazz in 1979. Humph was clearly a great admirer of Sam Rivers, especially the superb trio he formed with the brilliant Thurman Barker (drums) and Dave Holland (bass). The energy and vitality of the track he played made a lasting impression on me. The album was called Contrasts, by the way, and the track in question called Zip. I bought the album straight away. At least almost straight away, because it wasn’t the sort of record you could buy in the shops; I had to send away for it.

Anyway, I’ve now discovered that someone has posted this track on Youtube, so here it is. Enjoy!

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RIP Sam Rivers

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , on December 31, 2011 by telescoper

I just read of the death, at the age of 88, of the legendary jazz musician Sam Rivers who passed away on 26th December. Sam Rivers was born in 1923 and started playing professionally during the bebop era of the early 1950s. Later he evolved a unique avant garde style that was nevertheless firmly based in the jazz traditions he had grown up with. He was probably best known as a tenor saxophonist, but could also play flute, clarinet, piano and viola.

I first heard Sam Rivers on Humphrey Lyttelton’s BBC Radio Show The Best of Jazz in 1979. Humph was clearly a great admirer of Sam Rivers, especially the superb trio he formed with the brilliant Thurman Barker (drums) and Dave Holland (bass). The energy and vitality of the track he played made a lasting impression on me. The album was called Contrasts, by the way, and the track in question called Zip. I bought the album straight away. At least almost straight away, because it wasn’t the sort of record you could buy in the shops; I had to send away for it.

The following video was made in Germany around the same time featuring the trio mentioned above. It’s in several parts so please click through if you want to see and hear Sam Rivers’ full repertoire of instruments.

It’s very sad to hear of the passing of such a wonderful musician and inspirational figure, but at least we still have the music. Rest in peace, Sam Rivers.

Mr PC

Posted in Jazz with tags , , on May 16, 2011 by telescoper

I came across this just now and it completely blew me away so I thought I’d share it  here. It’s a solo version of the John Coltrane tune Mr PC  by the amazing (British-born) bassist Dave Holland. Words totally unnecessary. Wow will do.

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Cantaloupe Island(s)

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2010 by telescoper

It’s been a pretty exhausting few weeks, but now we’ve reached the end of teaching term. Not that I’ve got nothing to do, but I should be able to concentrate on writing up a few papers that I’ve struggling with for many months.

Anyway by way of a celebration, and to correct for the fact that I haven’t posted much music recently, here are two totally different versions of a great tune by Herbie Hancock called Cantaloupe Island. The original recording of this came (made on June 17 1964) appeared on the album Empyrean Isles which came out on the Blue Note Records label. Its instantly catchy riff and fine solo playing turned it into a big hit, and it quickly became a standard.

The first  video clip features the original personnel of Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums) and Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) but with the addition of the great tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. It was recorded during a special concert in 1985 to celebrate the Blue Note label. It’s got a similar groove to the original version, but the live performance allows the players to stretch out a lot more than on the original, so it’s about twice as long.

The second rendition also features Herbie Hancock on piano (and other keyboards), but it’s totally different. Taken at a faster tempo, and firmly in the style of Jazz-rock Fusion that Hancock gravitated towards later in his career, it features Pat Metheney (on electric guitar), Dave Holland (bass) and Jack de Johnette on drums. They’re all great, but the drummer on this track is sensational! I saw Jack de Johnette playing years ago – at the Jazz Cafe, I think – and I couldn’t believe the speed of his hands and the immense drive he generated even while playing complicated patterns. Awesome. 

PS. I’ve used the spelling I believe to be correct, as that’s how it’s written on the original Blue Note record (of which I have a copy). I’ve seen many variants, though, including those on the youtube clips shown here.