Sam Rivers ‘Dimensions and Extensions’ (Blue Note RVG) 4/5

Sam Rivers strided the stylistic gap between post-bop and free jazz to great effect on a series of classic albums in the mid-late 1960s for Blue Note such as ‘Fuschia Swing Song’ and ‘Contours’. In addition he was briefly a member of Miles Davis’ band and as a sideman featured on the superb Larry Young album ‘Into Something’. This late 1960s release featured a fascinating line up of four horns and no piano with Rivers shifting between tenor, soprano and flute. He enlisted a stellar cast of Julian Priester on trombone, James Spaulding on reeds and Cecil McBee on bass. Tracks cover a wide variety of styles from the melodicism of ‘Paen’ and the beautiful flute duet with Spaulding on ‘Involution’ to the freedom of Afflatus’. One hopes that the vastly underrated album ‘A new conception’ is re-issued a some point to complete the Rivers repertoire on Blue Note. Tim Stenhouse

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