|1. Emanation. Part I||31:09|
|2. Emanation. Part II||45:32|
Bill Shoemanker - Point of Departure
Emanation is the first volume of a projected series of recordings authorized by Sam Rivers’ estate. It is appropriate that it is inaugurated by a trio concert featuring Cecil McBee and Norman Connors, who performed on Streams, Rivers’ first outing for Impulse. This edition of the multi-instrumentalist’s trio would be eclipsed later in the ‘70s by the unit with Dave Holland and Barry Altschul, so this set at Boston’s Jazz Workshop, a full two years prior to Rivers’ breakout Montreux festival performance, is a reminder of the earlier trio’s longevity – it lasted into ‘74, when it was part of Impulse’s package tour with Keith Jarrett’s “American quartet” and Gato Barbieri’s Latin America ensemble – as well as its potency.
All archival projects are issued for the hard core; those weaned on gig cassettes with a scorching hot house mic will shrug off the distant bass and piano, because Rivers, McBee and Connors made compelling music even at this early stage of their run. At the beginning of each of the two sets, Rivers plays solo; tenor with dramatic sweep on the first, and soprano with folkish lilt on the second. He soon jettisons these materials, whipping up the intensity, beckoning the entrances of McBee and Connors. Depending upon the rhythmic feel Rivers cues as the performances unfold, Connors either finesses buoyant grooves or pummels the kit with a Graves-like urgency, while McBee races the fingerboard or lays down a surging vamp.
Rivers’ seemingly bottomless well of inventiveness is vividly on display on Emanation. Although he originally made his mark playing tenor, Rivers was a true multi-instrumentalist. Even at this relatively early stage of developing set-long improvisations in which he played each of his four axes at length, Rivers had a real command of each and every moment, the considerable merits of McBee and Connors’ contributions notwithstanding. If ever there was a recording that handsomely rewards committed listening, it is Emanation.