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Jazz Birthdays: Sam and Shadow | September 25, 2012

Sam Rivers  1923-2011

In a career that spanned 70 years, saxophonist and composer Sam Rivers played with legends, and led his trio, quartet and the Rivbea Orchestra.  In the 1970s, Sam and his wife Bea operated Studio Rivbea, a jazz cultural arts center in Greenwich New York.

A prolific and daily composer, his tune Beatrice is a standard for saxophonists.

“I have the distinct honor of being the only musician in the history of jazz to have performed and/or recorded with the most important musicians in blues, swing, bebop and the avant-garde.”

Shadow Wilson  1919-1959

Well-known among jazz drummers, but otherwise sort of an  unsung hero, Shadow Wilson was a tasteful, colorful and versatile drummer.  His talents served him well with the big bands of Lionel Hampton and Count Basie, and just as well with Thelonious Monk, Sonny Stitt and Louis Jordan (see the impressive drum solo below).

According to Papa Jo Jones, Shadow Wilson was “the greatest natural drummer that ever lived.”

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