:: ROVA NEWS: MAY - JUNE 2014 ::
In this Newsletter:
Screening in Chicago!
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
5:50 PM: Electric Ascension @ 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival
Upcoming Rova ShowsFriday, 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 / 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
Community Music Center
Chapel of the Chimes
Join Rova in this intimate setting
for a rare two-set house concert in the Berkeley home
of contemporary music fan, Harry Bernstein.
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
Friday, May 2
Larry Ochs + Friends
An evening of improvisations with Chicago-based musicians
Larry Ochs - saxophones
Elastic Arts Foundation
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
Saturday, May 10, 7:00 PM
As part of the In the Flow Festival.
Berkeley Arts Festival
Monday May 12, 9:00 PM
Wednesday June 18, 9:30 PM
Sunday, June 29
Rova:Arts Sponsored Events at the Center for New Music
55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 275-C4NM (2466)
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
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
+ 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).
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.
soprano in concert, Paris, 1982
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
in a trio with Third Person (Samm Bennett, drums,
Tom Cora, cello)
(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
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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