By Troy Collins
The collaborative quartet Riverside was initially founded by Montreal-based tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas to explore the legacy of groundbreaking American composer and multi-reedist Jimmy Giuffre. Long admired by fellow jazz musicians for his innovative use of counterpoint, microtonality and rhythmic freedom, Giuffre has rarely received the sort of popular acclaim his body of work deserves.
Joined by renowned trumpeter Dave Douglas and his brother Jim Doxas on drums, the group is completed by legendary electric bassist Steve Swallow, who provides a direct link to the past, having played on Giuffre's history-making 1960s trio recordings with pianist Paul Bley, including the landmark Free Fall (Columbia, 1962), as well as the threesome's critically-acclaimed reunion albums from the early 1990s.
Although the assembled quartet only performs one actual Giuffre composition on its self-titled debut—the vivacious bluegrass-inflected "The Train and the River," as well as a heartfelt rendition of "Travelin' Light," a standard commonly associated with Giuffre—the remainder of the tunes reflects the dedicatee's influence, especially in terms of writing and arranging.
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