Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Sam Rivers, whose recent recording Inspiration was nominated for a Grammy award this year, will join Thurman Barker and guitarist James Emery for an evening of jazz with the Thurman Barker Quintet on Wednesday, March 29. The performance, presented by The Bard Center, begins at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall and is free and open to the public.

The Thurman Barker Quintet will perform works from Barker's recent recordings, Voyage and The Way I Hear It. Some of the tunes include Voyage, Course, Kiningalinga, Tenor Tantrums, Affable Affair, Bird Behavior, and The Way I Hear It.

For further information about the concert, call The Bard Center at 914-758-7425.


"Thurman Barker proved he's become one of the most astonishing, inventive drummers in jazz," writes the Boston Herald. "He's that rare combination: a drummer of both raw muscle and fierce intelligence." Barker, assistant professor of music at Bard College, began his professional career at the age of sixteen, playing for blues singer Mighty Joe Young. Classically trained at the American Conservatory of Music, he saw his reputation as a drummer grow quickly. He is a charter member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, a jazz cooperative formed in 1965 in Chicago to teach music to inner-city youths. He has performed worldwide and has recorded with Cecil Taylor, Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Meyers, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Sam Rivers, Billy Bang, Joseph Jarman, and Henry Threadgill. The World Music Institute commissioned two of his works; Dialogue was premiered at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City in 1994. The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra premiered Expansions last May. He has developed the jazz program at Bard College since joining the faculty in 1993.

Sam Rivers is the legendary avant-garde saxophonist whose contemporaries include Cecil Taylor, Dave Holland, Miles Davis, and countless others. He was born in En Reno, Oklahoma, in 1923 and raised in Chicago and Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended the Boston Conservatory of Music and majored in composition at Boston University. While in Boston he played with Nat Pierce, Quincy Jones, and Serge Chaloff and joined Herb Pomeroy's full-size orchestra in 1958. He formed his own quartet with Hal Galper and played his first Blue Note session with Tadd Dameron. A thirteen-year-old drummer named Tony Williams sat in on one of his sessions, and in 1964 Williams lobbied for Rivers to join the Miles Davis Quintet. Rivers only remained in the quintet for three concerts in Japan. He released five recordings on the Blue Note label during the sixties, including Fuschia Swing Song, Contours, A New Conception, Involution, and Dimensions and Extensions. He played with Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons, and Andrew Cyrille, toured Europe, and released a triple live album on the Prestige label. During the 1970s, he and his wife, Beatrice, began a studio project that became known as Studio Rivbea and was host to some of New York's most unique concerts and rehearsal bands, including Rivers' own Rivbea Orchestra. In 1987 Rivers toured with Dizzy Gillespie's quintet and the United Nations Orchestra. He moved to Orlando, Florida, in the 90s and continues recording with the Rivbea All-Star Orchestra. His recent release with the orchestra, Inspiration, was nominated for a Grammy award this year.

James Emery, guitar virtuoso and composer of over 100 works for a wide variety of formats and instruments, has carved out a distinctive niche in the deconstructed environment of contemporary music. The New York Times music critic Robert Palmer has called Emery "mercurial, poised, and thoroughly satisfying . . . a fleet guitarist with a personal touch and sound." He studied theory and composition at Cleveland State University and moved to New York in the 1970s, recording with Leroy Jenkins and working with the Human Arts Ensemble and musicians Anthony Braxton, Kalapausha Maurice McIntyre, and Karl Berger. He co-founded the chamber jazz ensemble the String Trio of New York, which is one of the most active and visible groups of its kind, with over fourteen recordings to its credit. Emery is a prolific composer, with a body of work including compositions for solo guitar, chamber groups, large ensembles, jazz ensembles, and symphony orchestras. He has five recordings of his own work, the most recent being Spectral Domains on the ENJA label. Emery has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Carey Trust. He has played with Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Steve Reich, Muhal Richard Evans, Anthony Davis, and Thurman Barker, among others.

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001