:: ROVA NEWS: MAY - JUNE 2014 ::

In this Newsletter:

Channeling Coltrane Screening in Chicago!

Upcoming Rova Shows

Rova Member Shows

Rova:Arts Sponsored Events at C4NM

+ 1 - Guest Contributor: Jason Weiss

Favorite Street – Bruce Ackley

RIP: Saxophonist / Composer, Fred Ho

Join the Rova:Arts Community

Steve Lacy in 1957, whose music is the theme of Rovaté 2014

Don’t miss Rovaté 2014 on Friday, June 6! Join us for Rova:Arts’ mini-festival, Favorite Street, a tribute to the late soprano sax master, Steve Lacy—3 sets of reimagined Lacy music by Rova and some of the Bay Area’s most forward-thinking post-jazz players. In preparation for the show, the Quartet’s been having a great time revisiting the Lacy pieces we arranged for our 1983 release, Favorite Street. And, Rova’s Steve Adams has contributed a popping new arrangement of Lacy’s iconoclastic work, Clichés. Part two of our Lacy tribute will take place at Duende Restaurant in Oakland on July 11, where will team up with Kyle Bruckmann (electronics), and guitarist Henry Kaiser for a performance of his pieces for sax quartet and electronics, Saxophone Special.

On June 21st, for the first time, Rova will play the annual Summer Solstice event Garden of Memory at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. And, we have a rare house concert scheduled in the Berkeley hills in late June.

Meanwhile, as always, Rova members are busy presenting their own projects around the Bay Area, and Rova:Arts continues to produce special events at San Francisco’s Center for New Music.

If you’re in Chicago, or have friends there who might be interested, note that on Saturday, May 3rd there will be a special screening of Cleaning the Mirror, filmmaker John Roger’s jubilant double header documenting Orkestrova’s reworking of John Coltrane’s Ascension. See below for details.


Channeling Coltrane Screening in Chicago

Filmmaker John Rogers’ Channeling Coltrane is a duet of films focusing on Rova's reincarnation of John Coltrane's Ascension—called “the most vexatious work in jazz history.” First, in Cleaning the Mirror, we learn the history of the project and hear from the musicians—including Nels Cline, Hamid Drake, and Rova leader Larry Ochs—about their approach to the music. Then, Electric Ascension documents in its entirety a performance of the reimagined Coltrane masterwork, giving audience members a rare opportunity to see and hear the work performed live.

Saturday, May 3, 5:00 PM
5:00 PM: Cleaning the Mirror
The documentary on the making of Electric Ascension

5:50 PM: Electric Ascension @ 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival
The complete performance, featuring Rova Sax Quartet, Hamid Drake, Rob Mazurek, Nels Cline, Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, Jenny Scheinman, Ikue Mori, and Chris Brown
Check out the Q & A with Larry Ochs!

Presented as part of the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival


Upcoming Rova Shows

Friday, June 6, 8:00 PM
Favorite Street: 3 Sets of Steve Lacy Music


The Quartet revisits Lacy compositions recorded on our 1983 Black Saint Records release, Favorite Street

Ben Goldberg
Ben Goldberg / Michael Coleman Duo
Goldberg, Downbeat magazine "best jazz clarinetist" and Lacy specialist, will be joined by keyboardist Michael Coleman for intimate readings of Lacy works

Darren Johnston / Aram Shelton / Doug Stewart / Kjell Nordeson
This extraordinary post-jazz quartet will dig into Lacy works for the first time

Community Music Center
544 Capp Street, between 20th & 21st Streets
San Francisco ‎
(415) 647-6015

Saturday, June 21st, 9:00 PM

Garden of Memory
The Garden of Memory, a magical walk-through event at the Chapel of the Chimes columbarium in Oakland, is held every June 21st from 5pm to 9pm to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Some of the early confirmed performers include Rova, Kitka, Del Sol String Quartet, Pamela Z, Henry Kaiser, Carl Stone, Amy X Neuberg, Paul Dresher & Joel Davel, The Living Earth Show, Tim Phillips, Theresa Wong, Laura Inserra, Willie Winant, Orchestra Nostalgico, Sarah Cahill, Cardew Choir, Luciano Chessa, Jaroba & Keith Cary, Maggi Payne and many more to come.

Chapel of the Chimes
4499 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland 94611

Saturday, June 28, 8:00 PM
Rova: House Concert in Berkeley
1068 Spruce Street
Berkeley 94707

Join Rova in this intimate setting for a rare two-set house concert in the Berkeley home of contemporary music fan, Harry Bernstein.
The house can accommodate 50 people. Harry asks that people pay in advance to avoid collecting money the evening of the concert, and prefers that folks pay by PayPal or by check sent to his address. Please Google the street number to get directions.

Tickets: $25, which includes wine and cheese served at intermission. For reservations or to arrange for Paypal, send an email to: Harry@fullplatemedia.com


Rova Member Shows

Larry Ochs
Friday, May 2
Larry Ochs + Friends
An evening of improvisations with Chicago-based musicians

Larry Ochs - saxophones
Dave Rempis - saxophones
Jason Adasiewicz - vibes
Tim Daisy – drums

Elastic Arts Foundation
2830 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago 60618


Saturday and Sunday, May 3, 4
Jon Raskin Trio

Jon says: The trio was formed for a 2014 New Year’s performance to celebrate the Center for New Music’s first year in existence, and felt like a good time to revisit a format that I explored earlier in my career. Working in a trio like this allows for a very flexible and intimate relationship between the players—roles can change, the music can shift, and it allows me to integrate many kinds of compositions and forms because of the caliber of the players. The concert will include works by other artists, and even some traditional music. In addition to my works, the performance will include Irish traditional, jazz pieces by Charles Mingus and John Tchicai—and some surprises.

Jon Raskin – alto sax
Lisa Mezzacappa – bass
Vijay Anderson – drums

Saturday, May 3, 9:30 PM:

3234 Grand Avenue

Sunday, May 4, 7:00 PM:

Studio Grand
3234 Grand Avenue


Saturday, May 10, 7:00 PM
The Steve Adams/Scott Walton Duo
Steve Adams – woodwinds and electronics
Scott Walton – bass

As part of the In the Flow Festival.
Also appearing - Nagual, Lisa Mezzacappa/Donald Robinson/Scott Looney Trio and Tony Passarell's Thin Air Orchestra conducted by Vinny Golia.

Berkeley Arts Festival
2133 University Avenue


Monday May 12, 9:00 PM
Rempis / Johnston / Ochs

Dave Rempis – saxophones
Darren Johnston - trumpet
Larry Ochs - saxophones

3234 Grand Avenue

CD Release party for Spectral—to be released on Aerophonic and available at the concert

Saturday June 14, 2:00 PM

Richard Waters Festival

The 2nd Annual Richard Waters New Music Festival—a festival of musical invention inspired by the late Richard Waters and his creation, the waterphone. The festival will run from 2 – 10 PM and feature musicians from the greater Bay Area, including Rova’s Jon Raskin.

Partial Lineup:
Jon Raskin – solo saxophone
Rent Romus - solo saxophone
Tom Nunn - inventions, Paul Winstanley - extended electric bass
The Emercency String Ex-tet
The Richard Waters Orchestra
Grosse Abfahrt
Ghost in the House

Berkeley Arts Festival
2133 University Avenue



Wednesday June 18, 9:30 PM
Satoko Fujii Orchestra Oakland

A rare opportunity to hear the Fujii’s large ensemble pieces, performed by the Bay Area’s finest, including Rova’s Ochs and Raskin

Aaron Bennett - Tenor Sax
Larry Ochs - Tenor Sax
Jon Raskin - Bari sax
Theodore Padouvas - trumpet
Erik Jekabson - Trumpet
Kappa Maki - trumpet
Clifford Childers - Trombone
John Shiurba - guitar
Satoko Fujii - piano
Todd Nicholson - bass
Jordan Glenn - drums
Yoshi Shutto - drums

3234 Grand Avenue

Sunday, June 29
Ochs / Robinson Duo
Don Robinson – drums
Larry Ochs – saxophones
3234 Grand Avenue



Rova:Arts Sponsored Events at the Center for New Music

55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 275-C4NM (2466)

Dave Rempis
Friday, May 9, 7:30 PM
From Chicago: Dave Rempis Special Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis makes a rare appearance in San Francisco, and presents two bands. He teams up with Larry Ochs and Darren Johnston for a set celebrating the release of their new trio CD, Spectral which will be available for the first time at this show. Then he presents his Chicago trio called WHEELHOUSE: Dave Rempis - saxophones / Nate McBride – bass / Jason Adasiewicz – vibes. You really do not want to miss this unique band!


Friday, May 23, 7:30 PM
Carolyn Chen: Hoods
Chamber opera mash-up of the Red Riding Hood and Hekabe Stories

Hoods is a chamber opera based on Euripides’ Hekabe and Little Red Riding Hood, parallel stories of women in extremis. Setting myth and fairytale in the context of late empire and perpetual war, the opera explores themes of violence, gender, and metamorphosis. Three singers each play three roles from two alternating stories about women and wolves transforming into one another. Helicopters, ocean, and animal recordings subtly modulate and harmonize with chamber music reminiscent of Monteverdi and shape note songs. People are swallowed as shadows against a screen. Projected video projected enacts a shoreline, streaming war footage complicated by the unevenness of surface.


Wednesday, June 4, 8:00 PM Thollem: Solo Piano / Keyboards

"Thollem is known for his rapturous solo piano work which transgresses genre boundaries as much as it transcends them. And, while his solo piano oeuvre is remarkable for its stylistic breadth and depth, he has more pure technical ability than most musicians would know what to do with. Yet technique is not his focus: Thollem sees it as a tool to extract ideas using his instrument of choice, the acoustic piano. Interestingly, he has started experimenting with electronic keyboards of various sorts, primarily—as he points out—to find "technological solutions to musical ideas that can't be solved using an acoustic instrument." The electronic work, in turn, informs the acoustic work, and so on." - AllAboutJazz.com

Thursday, June 19 8:00 PM
Satoko Fujii New Trio + 1

Formed in 2012, Fujii’s The New Trio delivers the kind of powerful, challenging music we have come to expect from each new departure by the Tokyo-based piano wizard and brilliant bandleader. It’s a daring, exploratory group, whose members are disciplined, attentive and unafraid to move in any direction the music indicates. The music is by turns, lyrical and longing, percussive, powerfully expressive and vibrantly alive.

Satoko Fujii – piano
Todd Nicholson – bass
Yoshi Shutto – drums
Special guest Kappa Maki – trumpet


+ 1, Guest Contributor, Jason Weiss

Visits with Lacy

When I lived in Paris in the 1980s, I used to visit Steve Lacy with some regularity. Mostly we talked books and listened to music, once in a while he played me a new tune; sometimes, other visitors dropped by too. Once, I walked in to find James Newton and Abdul Wadud there. I had admired their playing, but did not imagine them and Steve in quite the same circles. With all the more reason, then, I appreciated the mutual regard they held for each other. Another time, he and Irene asked me to stay for supper, or maybe I was already invited, and there was Eduard Limonov, a bad boy of the new Russian literature who had left the USSR and subsequently NY and was then trying out Paris.  I don't know how much Limonov knew Steve's music, but he was on good behavior that evening (with no sign of the nationalist cult leader he later became).

But not every visit was occupied with matters of high art. One afternoon, Steve recounted how he'd just spent hours running all over Paris trying to find a small part for their broken washing machine, a quest that had started simply enough at the BHV department store down the street from them. Somehow the mundane task seemed incongruous to me: would that have been like Yehudi Menuhin changing a flat tire?

For all the writers and painters and performers that Steve turned me on to, it was a rare pleasure to be able to bring something new to his attention. One day, in the posh seventh arrondissement where neither of us was inclined to stray, I chanced upon him in the street. I was on my way to the Mexican cultural center to see a show of Huichol yarn paintings. I told him the little I knew about that startling tradition of psychedelic dream images, and so he came along. We spent a good while in there, as he was fairly blown away by them, and then we went our separate ways again.

Another time, a few years after, I was less successful in that regard. Samuel Fuller's final film, Street of No Return, opened in Paris and I encouraged Steve and my close friend Séamas—who knew Steve through me, we had even taken the train up to Lille several years earlier to attend the premier of Futurities—to go see it with me. Hardly had the film begun, I had that sinking feeling. I felt kind of bad for wasting their time, but Steve had that wry smile I'd seen often before, recognizing the mess in front of us while patiently keeping his humor to get through it. There was, after all, a certain solidarity in experiencing that mess together, even if it was the work of a master.

Our long-time friend Jason Weiss edited Steve Lacy: Conversations (Duke, 2006) and wrote, more recently, Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk’ , the Most Outrageous Record Label in America (2012), as well as an essay on artist Llyn Foulkes’ music for the catalogue to Foulkes’ retrospective at the Hammer Museum last year. Forthcoming in the fall: Cloud Therapy, a book about swimming.


Favorite Street – Bruce Ackley

Below is a miscellany of Steve Lacy output worthy of broader consumption. Have a look, have a listen. Thankfully lots of his musical research was documented during his 50 year professional career.

YouTube Videos
“Wasted” solo soprano in concert, Paris, 1982
This was probably at Theatre Dunois, a place that Rova played many times in the 1980s, Lacy often showing up to listen. I think Larry Ochs and I may have been at this performance. Classic tune and improvisation. Lo-fi.

“Coastline” solo soprano in concert, Paris, 1982
Ditto. Hauntingly lonely melody.

YouTube Audio
“The Wane” live in a trio with Third Person (Samm Bennett, drums, Tom Cora, cello)
January 4, 1992, Knitting Factory, NYC. This band really made Lacy’s tunes sing. The groove was right, and the intimate setting perfect for interactive improvisation.

“Bone” live in a trio with Third Person (Samm Bennett, drums, Tom Cora, cello) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIU8ucsqIkg

“Name” live in a trio with Third Person (Samm Bennett, drums, Tom Cora, cello)
And again.

“Cliches” live in a trio with Third Person (Samm Bennett, drums, Tom Cora, cello)
Smoke follows beauty.


Saravah LP

(Found on the compilation of Lacy Saravah recordings, Scratching the Seventies)

While this compilation includes some great stuff, it’s really Lapis that distinguishes it. Recorded in Paris in 1971, it is a solo record that utilizes the studio, layering sopranos, and incorporating environmental sounds. The results were a major breakthrough for Lacy, and a landmark listening experience for the Rovas before we started scratching the eighties.

The Forest and the Zoo
ESP-Disk’ LP / CD
This is a Lacy quartet, featuring trumpeter, Enrico Rava, and South Africans, bassist Johnny Dyani, and drummer Louis Moholo. The recording was made in 1966 in Buenos Aires, where the band was stranded due to lack of travel funds, and is a completely improvised concert. The free flow of ideas is remarkable.

Emanem LP / CD
Recorded live in Avignon, France in 1972, Lacy’s soprano speaks with breathtaking beauty. “Cloudy” is particularly startling for it precise supersonics. The whole set is intelligently conceived, and rendered with care not common for the milieu. SOLO exists, along with Braxton’s For Alto, in rarified space.

The Window
Steve Lacy Trio
Soul Note LP / CD
This 1988 release is one of my favorite recordings Steve made with a trio, and one of the few made available on LP. The Window can easily be found in a new collection of all of Lacy’s Black Saint / Soul Note output, The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note Steve Lacy Solos Duos Trios, which includes 5 other albums for a reasonable price. Word has it that the record company plans to release a similar collection of Rova Black Saint recordings eventually.


RIP Saxophonist / Composer, Fred Ho

After 8 years of a grueling cancer war, Fred Ho peacefully passed away the morning of April 12th, 2014. He was in his Greenpoint, Brooklyn home, surrounded by friends and loved ones.

Fred Ho was a one-of-a-kind revolutionary Chinese-American baritone saxophonist, composer, writer, producer, political activist and leader of several music ensembles. For two decades, he innovated a new American multicultural music embedded in a soulful and transgressive form of African-American music, with the influences of Asia and the Pacific Rim.

Ho was a prodigious composer, having recorded more than fifteen albums as a leader and written several critically acclaimed operas, music/theater epics, cutting edge multimedia performance works, scores, oratorios and a martial arts ballet. He received numerous grants and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Apollo Theatre Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The New York State Council on the Arts, Chamber Music America and World Music Institute, among others, to present his vision of music and the arts. Fred Ho has been the subject of several scholarly works while other distinctions include a 1996 American Book Award and becoming the youngest person to receive the Duke Ellington Distinguished Artist Lifetime Achievement Award.

In the early 1990’s Rova commissioned Fred to write for the Quartet. In 1995 we recorded his epic work, “Beyond Columbus and Capitalism”—a 4 four movement cathartic narrative history of colonialism and exploitation that poignantly expressed Mr. Ho’s vision for the role of political discourse in art. The piece was released on Rova’s The Works, vol. 2 on the Black Saint label. His voice will be missed, and will surely have resounding impact on the new jazz scene.


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About Rova:Arts
Rova:Arts, formed in 1986 to support the activities of Rova, has been instrumental in producing local projects and advancing an ongoing cultural exchange between local Bay rea artists and the international scene through its Rovaté concert series. These events, made possible by funding to Rova:Arts, have engaged Bay Area musicians and composers—as well as musicians from around the world. Rova:Arts projects are often reproduced in other parts of the world, thereby bringing the work to a broader audience. Also, many Rova:Arts events have been recorded, resulting in releases which have been enthusiastically celebrated.

Click here to find out more and to Join Rova:Arts. If you are interested in getting involved in a more hands-on-way, feel free to contact us: rova.org/contact.html. Thanks for being part of the art.


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