Review - Contours

Artist: Sam Rivers

"Mellifluous Cacophony." That's the title of the last track on this 1965 album and it sums up the sound Rivers has been chasing for the past 40 years. Contours was Rivers' second Blue Note album, but the players assembled here – Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter and Joe Chambers – were quite familiar with his abilities and inclinations. (Hancock and Carter had worked with him in Miles Davis' group; Hubbard and Chambers were Blue Note regulars.) Thus, even with the challenging arrangements on Contours – especially the dizzying changes within "Dance of the Tripedal" – the group is cohesive and speaks with a clear voice. Nonetheless, it's Rivers' tenor that's fiercely dominant, acting as a guiding force throughout these incredible pieces.

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