September 25, 1923 – December 26, 2011
Sam Rivers is best remembered as the influential jazz saxophonist and composer who helped define the Free Jazz movement of the mid to late ’60s. Born into a musical family, Rivers began playing at an early age. After studying at the Boston Conservatory, Rivers went on to be an in-demand sideman, playing with the likes of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Freddie Hubbard. As a band leader, Rivers released several highly regarded albums on such storied labels as Impulse! and Blue Note. His tune, “Beatrice” from 1964′s Fuchsia Swing Song is widely regarded as tenor sax 101 for aspiring players. During the ’70s, Rivers and his wife owned and operated a jazz performance studio in New York City. He continued to perform and record until as recently as 2006′s Aurora. Sam Rivers was 88 when he died of pneumonia on December 26, 2011.
Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.