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4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Culmination Amazon Music Unlimited
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Audio CD, May 16, 2000
$50.00 $15.39

Editorial Reviews

Product description

CD has 7 tracks.

For those who recall Inspiration, 1999's showcase for the densely layered big-band writing of Sam Rivers, the title of this disc tells the story. Culmination comprises seven tunes from the same 1998 session that produced Inspiration, again produced and mixed by saxophonist Steve Coleman, with the same all-star lineup--including saxists Greg Osby and Chico Freeman and trombonists Ray Anderson and Joseph Bowie. Culmination also draws from the same body of arrangements that the visionary Rivers has assembled since the late 1960s. So why does it sound brighter, less cluttered--more accessible--than its predecessor? It has to do with the pieces themselves. Inspiration dove further into the pools of complexity that nourish Rivers's imagination; as he explains, each of the CD's seven pieces runs about 50 minutes in performance, which forced him to edit them heavily for recording. But the compositions on Culmination are shorter by design and focus more on concise composition and compact solos. They appear at their intended lengths (ranging from six to thirteen-plus minutes) and tell their stories more cleanly and succinctly--reminding one how well Rivers has always balanced his wonderful abstractions with a straightforward lyricism, exemplified by his best-known composition, "Beatrice." The highlights of this album include the opening track, guaranteed to confuse those who bought the first album (being a barely altered version of that disc's opening track); "Bubbles," with Hamiet Bluiett's ebullient baritone taking the lead; and the title piece, the most enjoyable lesson in atonality you'll ever hear. Rivers, in his late 70s when he recorded these tunes, plays wizardly soprano and hurly-burly tenor solos throughout the disc, which offers an ideal introduction to his musical omniverse. --Neil Tesser

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Product details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B00002DEVJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,173 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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October 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD
5 people found this helpful
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September 5, 2006
Format: Audio CD
2 people found this helpful
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