Sam Rivers & Stanley Crouch Duo [Street Fight]

from the Sam Rivers Sessonography

77.00.00 (3) • Sam Rivers & Stanley Crouch Duo [Street Fight]
“Summer, 1977” / Soho, New York City

1. smooth uppercut [0:01]
Sam Rivers (probably a right), Stanley Crouch (on the chin)

“I saw Stanley Crouch get decked by Sam Rivers one time, that was a great experience, Sam Rivers laid him out cold right on the stage.”
—Eugene Chadbourne [WIRE #117 November 1993 p.40]

“The book begins with thumbnail sketches of the various jazz styles that have evolved over the past century—bop, boogie-woogie, cool, free improv, etc.—and concludes with longer essays on history and genre, the earlier ones mostly by Scott Yanow and some excellent later ones by Eugene Chadbourne including ‘Loft Jazz’, the ‘NYC Scene 1980-2000’ and the ‘Chicago Scene 1980-2000’. Chadbourne explains how tension rose as critic Stanley Crouch and saxophonist Sam Rivers organised rival loft festivals in Summer 1977; in a fight on the streets of SoHo, Rivers got the better of Crouch, which some believe began the latter’s dislike of avant garde jazz.”
—All Music Guide To Jazz reviewed by Andy Hamilton [WIRE #232 p.82]

“What some considered the death knell of the loft jazz scene came in the Summer of 1977, which found Sam Rivers and Stanley Crouch organizing festivals scheduled for the same time, on the same street. Rivers noticed that many of the same musicians he was presenting were advertised for Crouch’s surprise event, and delivered an ultimatum that anyone participating in Crouch’s festival would be cancelled from RivBea. Since Crouch’s was strictly a door-money deal (no guarantees), many musicians bowed out of Crouch’s festival. At least one musician opted for RivBea, not because of the ultimatum, but upon learning of plans to tape his show & possibly make a record (without working out pay for the musicians who’d be recorded). Tensions heightened, and finally climaxed on the streets of Soho when a fight broke out, and Sam Rivers purportedly delivered a “smooth uppercut” to the competition; an event that some believe to be the source of Crouch’s dislike of avant-garde jazz.”
—Eugene Chadbourne []

“Let’s set the record straight. I was there, in front of Joe Lee Wilson’s The Ladies Fort, taking photos. Sam did come hustling up 2nd Street and confronted Crouch, but no punches were thrown by either party. Sam was particularly mad that Crouch had decided to put on a festival at the Tin Palace in conflict with the one Sam had going on around the corner at Rivbea. Joe Lee was also booked. The problem was not only the temporal overlap, but the musician overlap. Crouch was trying to take over the scene. He was succeeding. That night at Sam’s, Hamiett Bluiett came out solo, dressed in a dashiki, and angrily lectured the audience on ‘free music.’ ‘My music ain’t free; you got to pay,’ he insisted.
He then blew away the house. That was the death knell for Rivbea.”
—William Ellenberg 12.12.24

Sam Rivers confirmed to me in conversation that he had indeed knocked Stanley down. —RL
{Eugene Chadbourne; WIRE #117 November 1993 p.40; WIRE #232 p.82;}


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