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Barry Altschul: He’s Back (Though He Never Left)

Drummer remains active in a variety of bands and projects

Barry Altschul
Barry Altschul by Eugenia Morrison

During a Sam Rivers Trio reunion concert in 2007 at Miller Theater on the Columbia University campus, some of New York’s jazz cognoscenti speculated over the recent whereabouts of the group’s drummer. They were all well aware of the recent activities of saxophonist Rivers, who had been feted at the Vision Festival in 2006. And they were certainly up to date with perennial poll-winning bassist Dave Holland, having seen his picture on magazine covers, caught him during his annual residency at Birdland with his large and small ensembles, or heard his consecutive string of acclaimed recordings in recent years. But what of innovative free-jazz drummer Barry Altschul? Where had this cat been?

“I’ve been right here, man!” says the 67-year-old Bronx-born drummer. “Anybody could’ve called me at any time.”

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