Monday, February 10, 2014

Sam Rivers - Contours (1965)

Contours served as my introduction to avant-garde jazz, and years later, it remains one of my favorite jazz records. Rivers plays sax and flute like he's out of his goddamn mind, seamlessly shifting back and forth between cohesive melodic themes to complete atonal chaos, and his excellent backing musicians (Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Joe Chambers) follow him down the rabbit hole. Through this record, I came to understand that there is no key to 'getting' jazz -- you just listen attentively, allow yourself to be responsive, and keep in mind that actual human beings and physical instruments are producing the otherworldly sounds that you're hearing.

Track listing:
1. Point of Many Returns
2. Dance of the Tripedal
3. Euterpe
4. Mellifluous Cacophony
5. Mellifluous Cacophony (Alternate Take) [bonus]