We have a new mailing address:
Rova / Rova:Arts
115 Central Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94117

:: February - April 2019 ::

Cecil Taylor, flying close to home

In This Dispatch:

2019: The Year from Here

Studio-based Recording Project

Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! A Cecil Taylor Tribute

Upcoming Rova Member Shows

New Adams and Ochs Recordings

RIP Corinne Léonet

2019: The Year from Here

In addition to our studio-based recording session this month (detailed below), we’re looking forward to new projects, and playing in some new venues. Steve Adams has just completed editing and mixing our latest recording of Rova compositions. No title has emerged so far, but our plan is to get it ready for release later in the year.

Rova’s major spring project is a follow-up Cecil Taylor dedication concert. Last year’s Air: Tribute to Cecil Taylor was a gratifying experience for both participants and listeners, and the event’s success prompted Larry Ochs to suggest our tackling Taylor’s album length opus from 1976, Dark to Themselves, for an expanded ensemble. Concert details can be found below.

Rova will play Bird & Beckett Books in the Glen Park neighborhood, SF’s homey venue for all manner of jazz musics in late June, and we expect to appear at the Summer Solstice Garden of Memory event at Oakland’s Chapel of the Chimes on June 21. In the fall the quartet will play at the main branch of San Francisco Public Library, and at the SF Lively Arts series at St. Cyprian’s Church. We’ll try to squeeze in a couple other dates, likely at Berkeley’s Back Room and/or the Makeout Room SF.

We’re headed to the Midwestern US, with a confirmed concert in Ann Arbor at the Edgefest. Larry Ochs is looking for other dates to make the trip a tour of cities we haven’t played in a long time.

Finally, there are inquiries being made, re: a trip to Europe in the fall. More news on that front as we have it.

With 41+ years under our belts, we’re looking forward to another action-packed season of concerts, recordings, and tours. 

Studio-based Recording Project

Jon Raskin has long had the dream of our doing a studio-based recording—a recording project that fully utilizes the tools, process, and properties of the recording studio, and its post-production capabilities, to enhance the output of a quartet recording. Thanks to our intrepid co-conspirator, Gino Robair, who will host sessions in his home studio, and act as producer, we started recording in mid-February. We anticipate spending several days creating raw material, and then commencing a listening and idea-sharing period, followed by post-production and assembly. Discussions are under way concerning the desired method of release and distribution. We look forward to sharing this exciting project with you. It should be a significant departure from Rova’s usual live-in-the-studio releases.   

Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! A Cecil Taylor Tribute

Cecil Taylor
Saturday, April 20, 8:00 PM

Orkestrova / Positive Knowledge / duo B.


80 Turk Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Buy Tickets Here
Rova:Arts is excited to announce our upcoming tribute concert to jazz master pianist/composer/poet Cecil Taylor. In a 3 part program, Rova and collaborators will present works composed or inspired by Taylor. Driven by a desire to follow up on Rova’s successful 2018 concert Air: A Tribute to Cecil Taylor, and an interest in revisiting Taylor’s compelling album-length composition, Dark to Themselves, Rova has assembled a roster of serious practitioners deeply influenced by his monumental music to present this special event, Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly!
ORKESTROVA: Dark to Themselves
Rova, Larry OchsJon RaskinBruce Ackley, and Steve Adams, will be joined by guitarists Jean-Paul Bourelly and Henry Kaiser, bassist Jason Hoopes, and drummer Donald Robinson to present Steve Adams’ arrangement of Dark to Themselves—a 1976 Taylor work that has not been performed live in more than 4 decades. In keeping with Rova’s approach to the other artist tributes the quartet has explored, the intent is to celebrate this significant work in the spirit in which it was created: honoring the intrinsic design of the piece, while delivering the work with imaginative energy and the magic of Rova’s improvisational structures. The fire of guitarists Bourelly and Kaiser, supported by the rhythm section of Hoopes and Robinson, will burn through the Rova horns to reignite Taylor’s 1970’s masterwork.
Positive Knowledge
Taylor’s poetry is an important limb on the tree of his creativity. Poet and vocalist Ijeoma Thomas will join Oluyemi Thomas, on soprano sax, bass clarinet and percussion, to present original works dedicated to Taylor, as well as poems by him. As Positive Knowledge this groundbreaking duo will reflect on the words and voice of Cecil Taylor to illuminate an important aspect of his output.
Positive Knowledge

duo B.: Air Above Mountains (Buildings Within

Bassist Lisa Mezzacappa and percussionist Jason Levisduo B., will play a mini-set of music informed by its investigations of the solo piano improvisations of Cecil Taylor. This concert represents the culmination of a multiple-year process of immersion in Taylor’s 1976 live solo performance Air Above Mountains (Buildings Within), which Levis and Mezzacappa have explored through extensive rehearsal and research, and over several West and East Coast tours. The music is visceral, dynamic, urgent, relentless, unequivocal—but also created from a very open and vulnerable creative space. A studio recording of the project was released in 2017.


duo B. 

Upcoming Rova Member Shows

Sandy Ewen
Friday, February 22nd, 8:00 PM

Phillip Greenlief & Sandy Ewen Duo + Proskin/Raskin/Schaff Trio

Golden Lion Arts

2733 Riverside Drive
Sacramento, CA

More details here
Sandy Ewen is an experimental guitarist, artist and architect who has recently relocated to NYC from Houston, TX. She has two new duo albums, one with percussionist Weasel Walter and the other with guitarist Chase Gardner on Marginal Frequencies. She has an upcoming solo LP on Gilgongo Records, and a forthcoming Astral Spirits cassette with percussionist Lisa Cameron. In years past, Ewen has performed alongside Roscoe Mitchell, Keith Rowe, Lydia Lunch and many others, and has performed and recorded with Jaap Blonk, Henry Kaiser and Weasel Walter. Ewen's approach to playing is centered on found objects and extended guitar techniques. Phillip Greenlief is on tour with Sandy and they will be in top form when they make it to the Gold Lion.
A new configuration of Jon Raskin sax, Heather Proskin Bass and Jen Schaff drums will open the evening with a mix of original compositions by Jon Raski, plus improvisations.
February 24th, 6:30 – 9:30 

Phillip Greenlief & Sandy Ewen Duo + Jon Raskin & Phillip Greenlief Duo

Play the music of Steve Lacy Crib Concerts, Arcata, CA

House Concerts at the Crib

Arcata, CA
(707) 499-8516

More details here

The Fictive Five in Europe

Photo: Petra Cvelbar
The Fictive Five: Larry Ochs, Nate Wooley, Ken Filiano, Pascal Niggenkemper, Harris Eisenstadt
  • March 7 – Poitiers: Confort Moderne
  • March 9 - Schorndorf: Club Manufaktur
  • March 10 - Weikersheim: Club W71
  • March 12 - Vienna: Martinschlossl
  • March 13 - Villach, Austria: Kulturforum Villach
  • March 14 - Padova: Centro D’Arte
  • March 15 - Ferrara: Jazzclub Ferrara
  • March 16 - Mantova: DanzArea
  • March 17 - Forli: Area Sismica

Cleaver, Cline & Ochs in Southeast USA

Photo: Jill Steinberg
Gerald Cleaver - Larry Ochs – Nels Cline                                                
  • April 11 – Orlando: Iron Cow (produced by The  Civic Minded Five)
  • April 12 – Gainesville: Heartwood Soundstage
  • April 13 – Tallahassee: Fifth and Thomas  
  • April 14 – Atlanta: The Bakery Atlanta
  • April 15 – Chattanooga: Barking Legs Theater
  • April 16 – Athens, GA:  Hendershots
  • April 17 - Nashville:  Little Harpeth Brewing Company
April 13th, 4:00 – 5:00 PM 

Bruce Ackley, Solo

The Soprano Saxophone: A Personal Journey with the Straight Horn

Richmond Branch San Francisco Public Library

Richmond Meeting Room
351 9th Avenue

More details here
Soprano saxophonist and new music practitioner, Bruce Ackley, will present a brief and informal survey of the history of the barely tamable, and little celebrated, soprano saxophone. Through conversation and live music examples, he will explore the use of the straight horn in traditional and contemporary jazz, and the alternate universe of improvised music. Ackley has dedicated nearly 50 years to study of woodwinds and improvisation, concentrating almost exclusively on the soprano sax, and will present original works, improvisations, and pieces by soprano masters John Coltrane, Steve Lacy, Sidney Bechet and Johnny Hodges.


New Adams and Ochs Recordings

Steve Adams - electronics
Available for free here.
This is Steve’s third album of pieces from songadayforamonth from July, 2018, following The Invisible Coat and Strange Pudding. The idea of having the pieces reflect different archetypes developed as the project started. It happened twice that I kept the tempo from one day to the next, and the pieces ended up making sense together, so sixteen sketches in fourteen tracks.
JONES JONES - A Jones in Time Saves Nine 
NoBusiness Records NBLP121
Mark Dresser – bass, effects
Larry Ochs – saxophones
Vladimir Tarasov – percussion

Recorded in 2016 on tour in California
LP – 4 tracks
Digital Download – those 4 tracks plus 3 extra tracks
Available here and there
Side A
Side B
+ 3 digital extra tracks
Night Of The Living Jones
The Jones Who Never Was
Gone With The Jones
Larry Ochs - tenor and sopranino saxophones
Nels Cline - electric guitar, effects
Gerald Cleaver - drums

Recorded live in December 2016 in Richmond, Virginia
CD available here
1. Outcries Rousing
2. A Pause, A Rose
3. Shimmer   Intend   Spark   Groove   Defend
The most fulfilling encounters are also the most improbable ones – those we never imagined possible, either due to the many miles separating the circuits usually frequented by the individual participants in a music project or to the aesthetic differences they have. The trio with Gerald Cleaver, Nels Cline and Larry Ochs is one of those cases and the pieces inside “What is to Be Done” reflect entirely that condition. As Stuart Broomer’s liner notes point out, this music «enjoys the simultaneous qualities of nearness and distance: three musicians in a room, each stretching to the limits of one another’s material for some new richness, some sonic confluence unknown». With a Detroit background defining his personal style, Cleaver is a drummer of first choice by many of the greatest in creative jazz, from Henry Threadgill and Roscoe Mitchell to Craig Taborn and Ellery Eskelin. Considered (by the magazine Rolling Stone) one of the top 100 guitarists of all time, Nels Cline is either busy in the rock field, with the band Wilco, or appearing in more experimental contexts, like the one of “Lovers”. Ochs is one of the main figures of the music created in the fissures between exploratory jazz and contemporary classical music, with Rova Saxophone Quartet, Maybe Monday or Sax & Drumming Core. Each one has his remarkable life story, together they’re making history.
Also note: Just released in November - Gerald Cleaver and Larry Ochs on Rogue Art: Songs of the Wild Cave, recorded live in October 2016 in a cave in the Dordogne area of France containing some 150 Pleistocene - era cave paintings.


RIP: Corinne Léonet


From Le Glob:
“It was still the time when in France the words Jazz Action were blossoming that marked our paths on the musical charts. Corinne Léonet liked the word "Action" very much. She held it. A political word, a word of cinema. Corinne was an agent as they say, acting agent. Song and jazz. We met her, in typical seventies boiling places, like Angoulême, Jazz Unity, Le Dunois, then Rive De Gier, Cluny, Chantenay-Villedieu, such club, such barge... Those she had created: The Tripot where in 1972 were heard singers like Jacques Bertin. The street of Brussels. With Didier Levallet, she invented all the time, records In and Out Records, for example. We think of this association of 1982 in the funny name Japif (at his request, the "a" for action) with Sylvain Torikian, Didier Levallet, Gerard Terronès, Alain Bideau, Jean Buzelin, Denis Constant, Alex Dutilh, Jean-Francois Michel, Jean Rochard, Jean-Paul Rodrigue... We also think of Christian Mousset, Marie Castets, Dominique Abdesselam, Martine Palmé, Jean-Jacques Birgé with whom she directed Sarajevo Suite*. Her companions and musicians for whom she was tracing the road were Kate and Mike Westbrook, Willem Breuker, Annick Nozati, Chris McGregor, The Rova Saxophone Quartet, Trevor Watts, Kahondo Style, Rene Botlang, Phil Minton, Lindsay Cooper... The footprint remains strong. This woman has marked our history, our stories, the story of our stories. There were other calls, other worlds, leather goods, Morocco... Corinne left definitely yesterday.”
Corinne created many opportunities and made many connections for Rova during the 1980’s. We’re deeply grateful for having her in our lives for the time we did. She will be deeply missed by the community of artists and musicians she helped to guide for her generosity and passion for the work.  


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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 Area 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.

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