Sam Rivers, Legendary Jazz Saxophonist, Dies at 88

Legendary jazz musician Sam Rivers, a multi-instrumentalist who played alongside greats such as Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, died on Monday in Orlando, Fla. Rivers was 88.

The cause was pneumonia, his daughter Monique Rivers Williams told the New York Times.

In addition to the soprano and tenor saxophones, the instruments Rivers was best known for creative “magic” with, he also played the bass clarinet, flute, harmonica and piano and was notable as both a composer and arranger.

An Oklahoma native, Rivers started his career in Boston, where he performed in an ensemble that included future music producer Quincy Jones.

In the 1970s Rivers took his talents to New York and Studio Rivbea – Sam and his wife’s Manhattan loft – quickly became the hub of the post-bop experimental jazz scene in the state. He played with a diverse group of musicians there that included Gillespie, T-Bone Walker and John Lee Hooker.

In later life, Sam was lured to Orlando by the offer of steady work at Walt Disney World and quickly became a fixture on the central Florida jazz scene.

Until September, Rivers held weekly open auditions for his Rivbea Orchestra at Orlando’s musicians’ union hall.

“Music was his life, music is what kept him alive,” his daughter Monique Williams told CBC News.

“He used to tell me, ‘I’m working, but I’m loving every minute of it.’ Retirement was not in his vocabulary. ‘Why do we even have that word,’ he used to ask me, ‘there should be no such thing.'”

Sam Rivers is survived by daughters Monique Williams, Cindy Johnson and Traci Tozzi, a son, Dr. Samuel Rivers, as well as five grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

via CBC News

Share this article: Sam Rivers, Legendary Jazz Saxophonist, Dies at 88
More from Inquisitr