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Rova Sax Quartet on tour
1 October 2022 | 8:00 pm$20.00
Bruce Ackley – soprano and tenor saxophones
Steve Adams – alto and sopranino saxophones
Larry Ochs – tenor and sopranino saxophones
Jon Raskin – baritone and alto saxophones
Formed in San Francisco with its first concert being in February 1978, Rova Sax Quartet quickly became well-known for its vital blend of compositions and structured improvisation, and has performed – over its 40-plus years – at some of the most prestigious jazz clubs and festivals throughout the world, including festivals that are well-known but hardly support the cutting edge of “jazz” – such as The Monterey Jazz Festival – and other major festivals with truly creative programming such as Jazz em Agosto (Lisbon, Portugal), Winter Jazzfest (New York) Music Unlimited (Wels, Austria), and Musique Actuelle (Victoriaville, Quebec) and Vancouver Jazz Festival.
Rova’s repertoire features works by composers at the forefront of musical creativity, including USA composers Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Tim Berne and Robin Holcombe; UK composers Lindsay Cooper, Fred Frith, John Butcher, Barry Guy; California composers Chris Brown, Terry Riley, Miya Masaoka, Ben Goldberg, Gino Robair; and many other works commissioned by Rova with support from Meet the Composer (MTC), the Gerbode Foundation, and others. As an ensemble, Rova has commissioned more works – 20 in all – than any other MTC grantee; and in 2002, the ensemble garnered MTC’s first “New Music Champion Award,” which commended Rova “for over 20 years of innovative presentation of the music of our time and unwavering support to living composers.” In 2004, Rova received an ASCAP – Chamber Music America Award for “Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music.” Rova celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2003 with concerts that featured an expanded 12-piece ensemble, including Nels Cline, Otomo Yoshihide, Carla Kihlstedt, and Jenny Scheinman, performing John Coltrane’s concert-length work Ascension, captured live for the Quartet’s 2005 disc, Electric Ascension. From 2003 to 2018 Orkestrova performed this work annually (on average) in North America and Europe. A live concert-video from the 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival (Canada) and a documentary on Electric Ascension, both completed in 2012/13, were released on Rogue Art (Paris label) in January 2016.
Rova has a zillion CDs available (see disco at www.rova.org) though new CDs appear less frequently now, perhaps, than in past decades. The 5 most recent hits, prior to The Circumference of Reason, the late 2021 ESP quartet disc: In Transverse Time (2018): sax 4tet pieces penned by the 4 Rova members (Victo, Canada)… Channeling Coltrane; Electric Ascension (2016): live DVD/BluRay/CD package of Coltrane’s Ascension, reimagined by Jon Raskin and Larry Ochs for large ensemble; this performance documented at 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival (Rogue Art, Paris)… No Favorites! (2015): 3 extended Rova compositions for “Orkestrova” and dedicated to the spirit of Lawrence Butch Morris (New World Records, New York)… A Short History (2012): featuring new 4tet works by Ochs, Raskin and Adams of Rova (Jazzwerkstatt, Berlin)… The Celestial Septet (2011): a collaborative CD with Nels Cline Singers (New World Records, New York).
Rova: Arts, the sax quartet’s non-profit umbrella organization, has produced or co-produced at least one annual premiere in the Bay Area for decades, many of those shows exported to festivals world-wide.