Brilliant jazz reedist and bandleader Sam Rivers died on December 26, 2011, at the ripe old age of 88, after packing a vast amount of music into his career. His discography may not have been as lengthy as those of some of his peers, but he was a thrilling, prodigious performer right up until his passing; he pushed his ideas through several distinct eras of jazz history, and he always came out at the vanguard. He emerged in the 60s, cutting a series of excellent albums for Blue Note that split the difference between postbop and the New Thing without diminishing either. He discovered drummer Tony Williams when Williams was only 17, and he also played for a spell with Williams’s future employer Miles Davis. In the 70s he was a key figure in New York’s loft-jazz scene, giving it a crucial home at his Studio RivBea.