Mike Rivard

photo: Purpleganesh

Bassist Mike Rivard defies easy categorization and finds himself at home in a bewildering array of settings, from the low-rock of Mark Sandman and Morphine, to the mountains of Morocco with local Berber musicians, with side trips into the Broadway pits of The Lion King and Wicked, and sessions with Medeski, Martin & Wood. Growing up in the wide expanses of Minnesota, he took in the local sounds of Prince, Husker Du, and the free-jazz coming out of the Dinkytown/University of Minnesota milieu, before heading to Boston’s Berklee College of Music in 1981. After graduating from Berklee with a B.A. in Performance, he studied with jazz legend Dave Holland. Inspired by North African gnawa music, he picked up a Moroccan sintir (three-stringed bass lute) and with guidance from Hassan Hakmoun and Maalem Mahmoud Gania, he has become one of a handful of Western musicians proficient on the instrument. He puts all of these instruments to good use in Club d’Elf, the jazz-world-dub-electronica collective he formed in 1998, and has produced 15 albums for the band over the past 25 years. A busy freelancer, his most recent projects include playing on new albums by Natalie Merchant and Ryan Montbleau. He has been the regular Rhythm Bassist with The Boston Pops Orchestra since 2009, as well as a founding member of Sawaari, whose music explores the nexus of Indian taals, Arabic maqams, and trance music from North Africa and Italy.

Club d’Elf: Website | Youtube | Instagram


Ragamala Paintings Alive!

Release Date: October 13, 2023
Catalog Number: BR8983
21st Century
Composed by Phil Scarff and performed by world-jazz ensemble Natraj, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! shines a contemporary light on historic artwork from India. The members of Natraj individually and collectively bring a wealth of experience exploring the intersection of jazz and global musical traditions. Their stunning performance showcased in this release is wide ranging, deep, and accessible, while firmly rooted in the rich tapestry of Indian classical music. RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! is part of a larger multimedia work created in collaboration with Indian classical dancer Jayshree Bala Rajamani, incorporating dance, music, spoken word, and projected images. It brings to life historic ragamala paintings, with each painting representing one Indian classical raga or melodic framework. Inspired by Modest Mussorgsky and his iconic work, Pictures at an Exhibition, Scarff threads the suite together with musical “promenades” that represent the viewer entering and moving about an art gallery, with each theme anticipating a painting or set of paintings to come. Whether heard on its own or experienced as a full multimedia performance, RAGAMALA PAINTINGS ALIVE! takes listeners on a compelling contemporary journey that celebrates classic ragamala paintings from India.