Home Read Classic Album Review: Sam Rivers | Waves

Classic Album Review: Sam Rivers | Waves

The sax player's 1978 release delivers 44 minutes of cutting-edge jazz adventures.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Saxophonist Sam Rivers paid his dues by backing up the likes of Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. By 1978, when this album was originally recorded and released, he was heading off in his own direction, boldly pushing the envelope of free-jazz and hard bop with the support of a trio featuring stellar bassist Dave Holland.

ON THE MENU: Waves presents 44 minutes of cutting-edge originals that embrace the cerebral construction and speedy aggression of free jazz without completely sacrificing musicality and melody.

SURPRISE: Opening track Shockwave — a 14-minute opus that kicks off with plaintive piano, gradually evolves into a compelling full-band improvisation and closes with an urgent drum solo — is one of the most memorable modern jazz tracks you’ve never heard.