? rova:arts | On Rova's Radar
:: JAN - FEB 2016 ::
Orkestrova is poised for Coltrane's Ascension in NYC, January 17

In This Dispatch:

Rova Channeling Coltrane: All-in-one DVD/Bluray/CD (release date January 15, 2016)

New York City Residency - January 17-24, 2016

Rova Plays Easthampton, MA

+1: John Irabagon - Inaction is an Action

Rova Member Shows

Favorite Street: Steve Adams Recommends

Rova T-Shirts!

Nine dates in Europe in November, along with several subsequent Bay Area events and rehearsals, have put Rova in the zone, excitedly anticipating 14 sets of music-making on the East coast in January. The four of us have diligently planned for this residency over the past year, and are now ready to execute, one of Rova’s most ambitious endeavors: to reprise nearly 4 decades of Rova compositions, concepts and collaborations. Every night is a highlight, and the several-day Rova fest starts on Sunday, January 17 with Electric Ascension at Le Poisson Rouge, and concludes a week later, on Sunday, January 24, with the quartet performing some our seminal and transitional works at the Stone. The final concert of our East coast swing will be in Easthampton, Massachusetts, Tuesday, January 26. The Electric Ascension gig at LPR will also celebrate the long-awaited release of John Rogers’ exultant 2012 concert video and revealing documentary, Rova Channeling Coltrane, available here tonight.

In February and March Rova will meet with the innovative theatre company, We Players, along with members of dance-performance group, inkBoat, to begin planning a major collaborative work for 2017. We are thrilled to be in such great company to mount what will surely be an exciting Bay Area premiere. Stay tuned!

Rova Channeling Coltrane: All-in-one DVD/Bluray/CD (release date January 15, 2016)

Release date January 15, 2016 - Happy New Year!!

An All-In-One CD/DVD/Blu-Ray Package:

  • A beautiful concert video of Electric Ascension performed live at the 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival

  • A documentary on Electric Ascension, “Cleaning the Mirror”

  • An audio recording of Electric Ascension from Guelph

To be released on the renowned French label RogueArt and distributed by MVD in North America. Check our website for details on how to order a copy of the DVD.

At the 2012 Guelph Jazz Fest, Rova performed an arrangement of John Coltrane’s seminal Ascension album. For this performance, Rova was joined by eight extraordinary musicians: Nels Cline (electric guitar), Fred Frith (electric bass), Carla Kihlstedt (violin and electronics) and Jenny Scheinman (violins), Chris Brown (electronics) and Ikue Mori (laptop electronics), Rob Mazurek (cornet and electronics) and Hamid Drake (drums).

On January 15, 2016, French avant-garde record label RogueArt will release Rova Channeling Coltrane featuring a DVD & Blu-ray of a five-camera live shoot of Electric Ascension from 2012 in Guelph as well as a documentary, Cleaning the Mirror, telling the story of Rova’s adaptation of Coltrane’s Ascension for a 21st-Century ensemble, plus a brief history of Coltrane’s original recording in 1965. Cleaning the Mirror also contains notable interviews with past Electric Ascension participants such as Cline, Andrew Cyrille, Eyvind Kang and Scheinman; and a specially recorded and mixed CD of the same 2012 performance. The package will also contain extensive liner notes by noted Canadian jazz critic Stuart Broomer, who was present at the concert. All three discs will be packaged in the classic Rogue Art label’s design.

Electric Ascension Live at Guelph 2012
Excerpts from the most recent live performance of Electric Ascension—includes 2 minutes of the ensemble, a Nels Cline solo section, and a ballad section led by Carla
Kihlstedt on violin, and ends with Coltrane’s Ascension theme.

Excerpts from Cleaning the Mirror
Excerpts from the documentary included in the DVD/Bluray/CD release.


New York City Residency - January 17-24, 2016

Rova is looking forward to playing 13 sets of music in New York from January 17 to 24. The shows begin with the ecstatic Electric Ascension on January 17 at Le Poisson Rouge in the West Village, continuing for the following week (January 19 – 24) at the Stone on the Lower East Side. Rova is honored to have been invited by John Zorn to present a week’s worth of our music, both past and present at his East Side venue; music presented not only as a quartet but also in several larger ensembles, chosen from the many special projects created over the past 38 years.

Sunday, January 17

Channeling Coltrane: Reimagining John Coltrane’s Ascension


Performed as Electric Ascension in five countries since 2003, with dozens of today’s most committed and visionary improvisers, John Coltrane’s masterwork, Ascension, will once again be reimagined by Rova & Co. Presented by the BRIC Winter Jazz Festival, this will be the New York premiere of one of Rova’s most widely acclaimed projects, and is a show not to be missed.

For any Electric Ascension performance, Rova’s Larry Ochs gathers together a group of daring improvisers whose own musics are created with a similar spirit of exploration and innovation. It is not our intention to in any way replicate the original Ascension recording, but rather to use it as a springboard to improvise in our moment of the creative continuum. So we have gone electric, and electronic. And we have chosen to employ masters of free improvisation—musicians who have spent years learning how to listen and how to respond, and who understand intuitively when to play lead roles and when to play support or orchestral roles in a group improvisation. We are indebted to Coltrane and myriad other great artists for inspiring us to engage uncompromisingly in the risky business of creativity.

Present your ticket stub or receipt from the January 17 LPR Rova Channeling Coltrane show for one free admission for a 10 pm show during Rova’s residency at the Stone the following week.

More on the Le Poisson Rouge Electric Ascension show

“Rova, with its inspired Orkestrova, engages Coltrane's uncompromising compositional attitude and boundaries, pushing with its own sense of informed and masterful improvisation. This marrying of great minds and souls is what makes Electric Ascension such a great triumph. This time Coltrane's music not only heats the nearby atmosphere but also chills out your mind.”— Allaboutjazz.com

“I have never heard anything like it, and will remember it for the rest of my life.”— Jambase.com

“By the time the final head comes in, Electric Ascension has a deep structure that reshapes any notion of musical freedom... a new guttural language that defines its own canon of beauty as it goes along. Coltrane's Ascension is a magnificent torso, an unfinished carving. Forget all those mimsy, respectful‚ reworkings of A Love Supreme that clogged the market and the festival programmes a year or two back. Set aside ROVA's first version of this as confidently as Coltrane tried to set aside the "wrong" take. This is Ascension’s long-waited apotheosis and a masterpiece of the truest kind.” — Brian Morton, The Wire

More about Rova's Electric Ascension project

January 19 - 24


The Stone, John Zorn’s Lower East Side musical incubator / laboratory, where renowned musicians curate, collaborate, and explore fresh realms for improvisation, will be the site of a 38-year retrospective of the quartet’s work—a progress report spanning our 4-decade history, engaging some of New York’s most innovative and compelling voices. We couldn’t wait till year 40 to work up this ambitious project: NOW’S THE TIME!

Some of the composers and artists featured in Rova’s Stone residency, from top: Nels Cline, Steve Lacy, Allison Miller, Jon Irabagon, Trevor Dunn, Wadada Leo Smith, John Carter, Andrea Parkins

The Stone
The corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street
New York City

Present your ticket stub or receipt from the January 17 Rova Channeling Coltrane show at LPR for one free admission to a 10 pm show at the Stone during Rova’s residency.

1/19 Tuesday

8 pm Rova—Zorn Quintet
10 pm Rova Plays the Music of Berne, Carter, Curran, Smith, Zorn

1/20 Wednesday

8 pm ROVA plus Nels Cline + Trevor Dunn + Allison Miller
10 pm Rova Quartet NOW

1/21 Thursday

8 pm European Windows 1 — Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special
10 pm European Windows 2 — Rova Quartet plays Butcher, Cooper, Frith, and Guy

1/22 Friday

8 and 10 pm SAX & DRUMS!! ROVA plus Tom Rainey and Michael Sarin

1/23 Saturday

8 and 10 pm Figure 8 aka ROVA Saxophone Octet (Rova + Irabagon, Golia, Eskelin, and Ehrlich)

1/24 Sunday

8 pm Art of the Improviser: Rova Quartet + Ava Mendoza + Ken Filiano + Mike Lockwood + Andrea Parkins
10 pm Rova Quartet: The Works

[For complete details on Stone shows, click here.]


Rova Plays Easthampton, MA

Tuesday, January 26, 7:30 PM

Rova Plays Easthampton, MA

Rova returns to western Massachusetts for a final concert of our winter east coast tour. We're excited to be able to play a broad range of our repertoire after a week's residency in New York City. The band will be hot. If you're in the area, don't miss it!

121 Club
Easthampton, MA


+1: John Irabagon - Inaction is Action

“Saxophonist Jon Irabagon is a subverter of the jazz form,” declares Martin Longley in his Irabagon feature in the August issue of The New York City Jazz Record. “He’s a revolutionary who’s secretly messing with the changes. He might be dismantling the music’s mechanics from the inside, but from the outside he can frequently persuade a crowd that he’s an old- school practitioner. There are few players who can so deftly stride from postbop to free improvisation, avant country to doom metal and then wander from chaotic collage-spraying to sleek-blowing fluency.” The winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, Irabagon has since topped both the Rising Star Alto Saxophone and the Rising Star Tenor Saxophone categories in the DownBeat Magazine Critics’ Poll and been named one of Time Out New York’s 25 New York City Jazz Icons. You’ll find more biographical information on Mr. Irabagon at the end of the following thought-provoking article.

Inaction is an Action - Jon Irabagon

“The tracks have names but they are not music. They are varieties of noise, so ugly they are almost sublime. It is somehow thrilling that an artist can release one of the best and one of the worst albums of the year on the same day." –Thomas Conrad, review of both Inaction is an Action (my solo sopranino saxophone CD) and Behind the Sky (my simultaneously released straight ahead jazz record)

In late 2013, I decided to face a musical demon that had haunted me my entire professional career—record a solo saxophone record. My goal was to challenge both myself and anyone who would be willing to hear it. I wanted it completely on my own terms, using any and all methods I could conceive of in order to create new sounds, timbres and melodic fragments to make a statement that is wholly original. The process of creating what eventually became Inaction is an Action resulted in the most creative, fertile and focused period of growth I have experienced since my initial commitment to saxophone performance and improvisation as a career.


My fascination with solo saxophone recordings actually began sophomore year in college, when a friend bought Conic Sections by Evan Parker. We sat in his dorm room listening to it over and over, wondering how in the hell he came up with those sounds. We started to hear patterns, shapes, textures and interweaving lines as part of a larger tapestry blossoming underneath all that circular breathing. Not only did he have complete mastery of the soprano saxophone, but Parker also, to me at the time, created his own universe of sound, form, dynamics and multiple simultaneous layers that I had never heard improvised before, let alone with no one else playing. I was completely hooked by Conic Sections and not only did I go out and buy every Evan Parker solo record I could find, but also solo records by Roscoe Mitchell, John Zorn, John Butcher, Ned Rothenberg, Lee Konitz—basically any solo saxophone record I found I would absorb it.

[To read Jon Irabagon’s complete article click here.]


Rova Member Shows

Friday, January 15, 8:00 PM

Gerald Cleaver - Larry Ochs - Nels Cline Trio

The Boot and Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street


Favorite Street: Steve Adams Recommends

Hermeto Special!

Iconoclast, Hermeto Pascoal

I had the singular pleasure of playing in the recent concert of the music of Lindsay Cooper, organized by Fred Frith and Zeena Parkins. There was a section of one piece that unexpectedly reminded me of the music of Hermeto Pascoal. I mentioned this to a bandmate, who was unaware of him, so that launched me on a binge of Hermeto videos. There are a vast number of them, but here are my faves. Hermeto is such a unique, joyous, insanely creative musician, I think everyone should know about what he’s up to.

Hanging out with his band in a lake

Their phenomenal piece using tuned metal tubes, continuing on to a solo on, uhhh, I’m not sure what

A piece made out of a recording of sports announcing

His landmark 1977 recording Slaves Mass

A good recording of his band, with a tea kettle solo

Hermeto playing his beard (and a pot of water, and more tea kettle, and…)

Oh yeah, he can also play some piano

A full album from 1992, Feste dos Deuses (Feast of the Gods) that I really like, with a great loop of pig oinking in 7/8, and a fantastic cut of harmonized bird calls

And, a nicely recorded full set with his badass band, sent to me by Lee Isles - thanks Lee!

There are tons more - enjoy!


Rova T-Shirts!

Check out the design below, featuring an image shot by our friend, Finnish photographer, Lauri Nykopp, which is printed on quality black tees. THE SHIRTS ARE VERY LIMITED EDITION. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Available in XXL – XL – L - M

US: $20 + tax $1.75 + shipping $4 US = $25.75 Foreign: $20 + tax $1.75 + shipping $8 = $29.75

Click here to order your t-shirt


Join the Rova:Arts Community

Become a Fan on Facebook!

Already a fan? Encourage your Facebook friends to become Rova:Arts fans.

Stay Tuned

You can stay in touch with all Rova:Arts activities through our website, subscribing to Rova's Radar, and our FaceBook and MySpace pages. See links at the bottom of the page. Also, check out Rova on YouTube! Subscribe to our channel and be notified when there are new Rova videos for you to watch. Go to http://www.youtube.com/user/ROVAARTSSF and click the subscribe button.

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.

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: http://www.rova.org/contact.html. Thanks for being part of the art.

Support Rova:Arts through Amazon Smile

You can increase your donation potential by clicking on Amazon Smile. Bookmark this link so all of your eligible Amazon shopping will benefit Rova:Arts.


Be sure to visit us online:

Copyright © 2015 Rova:Arts, All rights reserved.
We send our news to fans and supporters of Rova and Rova:Arts. Thanks for reading!

Our mailing address is:
115 Central Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94117