Sam Rivers 1923-2011

On December 27, 2011 by Will Hermes

If the 1970’s NYC loft jazz scene had a godfather, it was Sam Rivers, the saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist/composer/bandleader. He died yesterday at his home in Florida. He was 88.

Sam Rivers’ club, Studio Rivbea, was ground zero for the loft scene. It was located in Rivers’ apartment at 24 Bond Street, an artist residency building managed by Robert DeNiro’s mom, painter Virginia Admiral. Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe also had a loft in the building. Sometimes he’d check out the music downstairs.

The best document of the loft scene on record remains the multi-volume Wildflowers set, recorded during a festival at Studio Rivbea in spring of 1976. Here are a couple of samples:

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