Friday, March 30, 2018

Sam Rivers and Friends - 1978-10-15, Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CA

A little free jazz for the birds...

Rivers, Daley and "friend"
To some, the San Francisco club Keystone Korner is maybe best remembered a place where Jerry Garcia gigged all the time. Except, you know, the Keystone Garcia gigged at was the other Keystone, located in Berkley. Confusing, I know!

The Korner was a jazz club, somehow improbably successful throughout the 70s at a time when jazz clubs were largely a thing of the past. An insane number of live records were recorded there, my personal fave being Keystone Bop featuring Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, and Bobby Hutcherson, among others. And it played host to all sorts of jazz: electric Miles, various Art Blakey lineups (including one with a young Wynton Marsalis) and even the occasional free jazz show.

Today's share comes from one of those gigs. This one came to me under Sam Rivers leadership, and who knows, maybe he was considered the headliner here. But the lineup also includes Anthony Braxton, Dave Holland, Joe Daley and Thurman Barker. And by this point, both Holland and Braxton were established leaders of their own, with records on ECM and Arista. Rivers, meanwhile, was releasing stuff like Sizzle for Impulse, and most probably, the cutout bins.

And of course, one may remember that Holland, Rivers and Braxton all recorded the seminal Conference of the Birds a few years previous. And that Holland and Rivers had been gigging as a duo occasionally. And that Braxton had been dabbling in his own NYC-based experiments. And that... but I'm rambling.

The music here is probably one long piece, mostly improvised. I say probably because for one, there's a few dropouts and cuts through the one long file. And second, I think there's a few moments where they sound like they're building on some themes or ideas. I'm hardly an expert on free jazz, so please feel free to sound off below and tell me they're all, I dunno, playing an arrangement of Charlie Parker solos. That's another thing Braxton was doing around this time, you know. Still: it's about an hour of some pretty cool music, no matter the content or whose name got top billing. Hope you enjoy!

1 comment:

M. Milner said...

Sam '78: