Monday, January 15, 2018

Sam Rivers Tribute Band at the White House.

The Sam Rivers Tribute Band gathered once again after years of being apart at the Timucua Arts Foundation White House (2000 S Summerlin Ave, Orlando, Florida 32806.) this concert was thrown together at the last minute.  The band had not performed together for years. 

Sam Rivers is one of the greatest jazz legends of our time, performing for over 70 years. In the 1970’s he was the first artist to open a jazz cultural arts center in Greenwich New York, which was used as a venue to help artist exhibit their talents and gain recognition.

The one of a kind, intensely original compositions of Sam Rivers came to life once again in a rare performance of his 16 piece Rejuvenation Orchestra. (formally known as the Rivbea Orchestra. I sketched Sam Rivers as he performed at the Enzian Florida Film Festival wrap party in 2009.   He was a joy to watch and fun to sketch.   Sam Rivers died on December 26, 2010 at the age of 88 from Pneumonia.

I was excited to see if his magic still infused the Orchestra he had formed when he moved to Central Florida in the early 1990 with his wife Beatrice.  Several platforms were set up on stage for all the horns and saxophones.  Sam performed on bass clarinet, flute, harmonica and piano, but I loved watching him perform on the soprano and tenor saxophones.

I sketched as the orchestra took to the stage.  I recognized the string players but some of the sax players looked like they were still in college.  The performance was aggressively loud, as if each performer was trying to play louder that everyone else.  At times various performers stood for solos.  Rivers derived his music from bebop, but he was an adventurous player, adept at free jazz. He was also an adept composer and it was his sheet music that sat before every performer.  I hope this orchestra performs together more often.  In time they could bring back the polish that helps support the inspiration.  Sam's parting words at many of his concerts was, "Tell them what they missed."

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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