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Entry Category: Jazz - Starting with R

Rivers, Sam

Sam Rivers—a multi-instrumentalist, band leader, and composer who was on the cutting edge of jazz for sixty years—spent three formative years in Little Rock (Pulaski County), where he learned, at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic School, how to play the tenor saxophone, the instrument with which he is most closely identified. Samuel Carthorne Rivers Jr. was born on September 25, 1923, in El Reno, Oklahoma. His father, Sam Rivers Sr., was a singer with both the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers (consisting of students at Fisk University, a historically Black university in Nashville, Tennessee) and the Chicago-based Silvertone Quartet. Rivers’s mother, Lillian Taylor Rivers, was the accompanist for the quartet, which was on tour in Oklahoma when Sam Jr. was born. Both of …