Roosevelt “Booba” Barnes (1936) - Booba Barnes & His Playboys rocked the hardest of all the juke-joint combos in the Mississippi Delta during the '80s, and after the release of his debut album (The Heartbroken Man, 1990), Barnes took his act and his band north to Chicago, following the trail of his idols Howlin' Wolf and Little Milton. In a Guitar Player review, Jas Obrecht called Barnes "a wonderfully idiosyncratic guitar player and an extraordinary vocalist by any standard."  He began playing music professionally in 1960, playing guitar in a Mississippi band named the Swinging Gold Coasters. Four years later, he moved to Chicago, where he performed in blues clubs whenever he could get work. Barnes returned to his home state of Mississippi in 1971, where he began playing bars and clubs around Greenville.  He continued to play the juke joints of Mississippi for the next decade. In 1985 he opened his own joint, the Playboy Club. With Barnes and his backing band, the Playboys, acting as the house band, the bar became one of the most popular in the Delta. Soon, the band was popular enough to have a record contract with Rooster Blues. Their first album, The Heartbroken Man, was released in 1990. After its release, Booba Barnes & His Playboys toured the United States and Europe. They continued to tour, as well as occasionally record, until Roosevelt “Booba” Barnes died of cancer in April 1996.


Sam Rivers (1923) - Few, if any, free jazz saxophonists approached music with the same degree of intellectual rigor as Sam Rivers; just as few have managed to maintain a high level of creativity over a long life. Rivers played with remarkable technical precision and a manifest knowledge of his materials. His sound was hard and extraordinarily well-centered, his articulation sharp, and his command of the tenor saxophone complete. Rivers' playing sometimes had an unremitting seriousness that could be extremely demanding, even off-putting. Nevertheless, the depth of his artistry was considerable. Rivers was as substantial a player as avant-garde jazz ever produced.  In the early '60s, Rivers became involved with Archie Shepp, Bill Dixon, Paul Bley, and Cecil Taylor, all members of the Jazz Composer's Guild. In 1964, Rivers led his own session for Blue Note, Fuchsia Swing Song, which documented his inside/outside approach. In 1970, Rivers -- along with his wife, Bea -- opened a studio in Harlem where he held music and dance rehearsals. The space relocated to a warehouse in the Soho section of New York City. Named Studio Rivbea, the space became one of the most well-known venues for the presentation of new jazz. Rivers' own Rivbea Orchestra rehearsed and performed there, as did his trio and his Winds of Change woodwind ensemble.  In 1976, Rivers began an association with bassist Dave Holland. The duo recorded enough music for two albums, both of which were released on the Improvising Artists label.  Opportunities to record became scarcer for Rivers in the late '70s, though he did record occasionally, notably for ECM; his Contrasts album for the label was a highlight of his post-Blue Note work. In the '80s, Rivers relocated to Orlando, Florida, where he created a scene of his own. He formed a new version of his Rivbea Orchestra, using local musicians who made their living playing in the area's theme parks and numerous tourist attractions. From the '80s into the new millennium, Rivers recorded albums on his own Rivbea Sound label and other imprints as well, including a pair of critically acclaimed big band albums for RCA. Sam Rivers died of pneumonia on December 26, 2011.


Dave Holland Quintet – Points of View (1997)
Track Listing:
1. The Balance
2. Mister B.
3. Bedouin Trail
4. Metamorphos
5. Ario
6. Herbaceous
7. The Benevolent One
8. Serenade

Review by Richard S. Ginell at Allmusic:
For Points of View, Holland expands his group into a quintet, shakes up the remaining personnel, and comes up with a marvelous example of thoughtful, dynamically shifting ECM chamber jazz. The new wrinkles in the sound are the return of Robin Eubanks on trombone, which gives the front line a richer, more balanced texture, and drummer Billy Kilson, who displays a wider, more animated range of rhythmic sympathies than did Gene Jackson on Dream of the Elders. Steve Nelson on vibes and marimba is the only returnee, and Steve Wilson contributes a dry tone on both alto and soprano saxes. The elegant textures so typical of ECM belie considerable stylistic variety here, including a gentle reversion to the progressively funky Holland band of the '80s on "Metamorphos"; a happy-go-lucky, easy-swinging tribute to Ray Brown, "Mr. B."; reflective, relaxed ballad work in "The Benevolent One," and Nelson's charming calypso/folk lullaby for marimba, "Serenade." Of course, Holland leaves himself a lot of solo space, which he fills with mobile eloquence.

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    is a historical timeline for birthdays of blues and jazz artists and jazz album recording dates.  As our research progresses, we'll add more categories.  Look for updates each week, normally Mondays through Fridays, when we find something to share.


    October 2012
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    August 2012