:: SEPT - OCT 2016 ::

Rova at the Uptown Nightclub, Oakland, August 9, 2016. Photo: Hilda Mendez.

In This Dispatch:

Upcoming Rova Shows

+1: Lisa Mezzacappa - The Poetics of Discomfort

Favorite Street: Larry Ochs

New CD: Steve Adams / Scott Walton Duo

Rova Member Shows

RIP Judith Lindbloom

Rova T-Shirts!

Upcoming Rova Shows

Rova begins its 39th season! Seems like only yesterday when…NOT! But, many yesterdays ago, the band embarked on what’s turned out to be a 4-decade long adventure in making music, building community, and advancing the art of improvisation. Looking ahead to the coming year’s projected schedule, we’re happy to report that Rova is still on task, with plans which fit squarely into our collective vision.

In September, as part of Acoustic Habitats, a two day festival organized by David Samas, Rova will present compositions by Steve Adams, Jon Raskin and Phillip Greenlief&emdash;pieces which incorporate myriad modes of graphic notation in their design. The two-set concert will demonstrate the broad range of expression possible beyond the realm of traditionally notated scores. 

In November we anticipate the release of No Favorites, our tribute to the late Butch Morris, on the New World label. The music, recording, package and brilliant liner notes by Stuart Broomer result in what we trust will be a worthy homage to an imaginative fellow artist and comrade.
We’re excited about some upcoming concerts: 

Along with We Players and inkBoat we’re dreaming up scenarios and musical ideas for the ambitious spring 2017 site-specific re-imagining of Beowulf, dates to be set soon, and details to follow in our November communique.

On the heels of the spring collaboration, our plan is to be on the road to Europe. There are several inquiries out that could result in multiple overseas tours, all of which make year 39 appear full of creative opportunities for Rova, and our fellow travelers.

We’re starting to post Rova recordings on our Bandcamp page. See more on our latest posting below. 

New ORKESTROVA CD on New World honors Butch Morris

No Favorites pays homage to one of the most original creators in improvised music, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, inventor of "Conduction," a method for organizing large ensemble improvisation that he took to the world. Morris died in January of 2013, and Rova mounted their tribute at Turkey's Akbank Jazz Festival nine months later. The program represents a working relationship that Rova began with Morris in 1988 and also reflects parallel working processes reaching back to the mid-1970s. 
--From the liner notes by Stuart Broomer


Saturday, September 10, 8:00 PM

Rova: Acoustic Habitats - Graphic Scores for Improvisation 

Graphic #35, Steve Adams 2006

Flower Power, Jon Raskin

As part of a two-day series of concerts and events marking the opening of a window display of scores at the Center for New Music, Acoustic Habitats, Rova will present two sets of music realized through graphically scored composition. The composers contributing to the evening’s performance are Rova’s Steve Adams and Jon Raskin, as well as fellow saxophonist, Phillip Greenlief. Complete details on Acoustic Habitats events are posted at centerfornewmusic.com.

Phillip describes his piece, SAN FRANCISCO for ROVA, this way:
SAN FRANCISCO for ROVA was composed during my residency at Headlands Center for the Arts during the summer of 2013 and is dedicated to Lenny Bruce. I began composing map scores in 2004, for 2+2, my collaboration with Jon Raskin, and have since created eleven map scores for solo instruments and 10 map scores for ensemble. Unless stated otherwise within the composition, one approaches the score the way one would use a map while visiting a new city or state: starting at any place in the composition and moving freely from one compositional element to another. Each score has its own unique range of materials, designed for the performer(s) for whom the score was originally made. SAN FRANCISCO for ROVA features traditionally notated passages and sound menus that allow the performers to prepare and utilize a distinct set of sounds. In addition to the two Bb parts (for Ackley and Ochs) and the two Eb parts (for Adams and Raskin), SF for ROVA also has individual scores, to remind the players that solo space is encouraged.

Event producer and curator, David Samas, offers the following about Acoustic Habitats:
We live in a sonic environment which is not easily notated on staff paper. 

As a result of the tremendous interdisciplinary skill and creativity of contemporary performing artists, graphic notation and visual score-making have become prevalent both in new music and dance. Many composers become less fixated with expectations of what sounds/actions are made and more concern themselves with how or why actions/sounds are made; the nuance of expression where direction can be abstracted. Often these composers and performers come from a strong background in free improvisation.

To navigate this novel realm requires a map or a path that is often specific to a particular place, idiom or feeling. Coded within the visual information, more or less subjectively, are the symbols that the dancer/musician must re-express into space and time as music and movement. Often games or strategies are employed to create self-composing material.

In this exhibit we explore graphic scores from living Bay Area artists whose work reflects an almost spiritual sensitivity to this place and a deeper conversation with the local social and environmental landscapes and who, ultimately, compose their own acoustic habitats.

Center for New Music
55 Taylor Street, near Market
San Francisco

Sunday, September 25, 1:30 PM

Rova Plays San Francisco Music Day (FREE!) 

War Memorial Veterans Building - Education Studio
401 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco

SFMUSIC DAY takes place Sunday September 25, 2016 in the remodeled Veterans Memorial Building. Join us as we champion a diverse cross-section of the Bay Area’s vibrant musical community in a free, accessible and rewarding atmosphere. Launched in 2008, SFMUSIC DAY has grown into a highly regarded yearly celebration of the ‘state of the art’ of small ensemble activity in our region. More than 30 established and emerging ensembles of various genres—including early music, chamber music, new music, jazz and creative music—will perform concurrently throughout the day in the building’s four halls: Herbst Theatre, Green Room, Education Studio, and Diane B. Wilsey Center.

Admission is free!

You are free to come and go as you please, moving between spaces and creating a personalized program for the day. With interactive, family-friendly activities, and food trucks just outside the venue, the event will delight new listeners and seasoned concertgoers of all ages and backgrounds.


+1: Lisa Mezzacappa - The Poetics of Discomfort

Bassist / composer / bandleader, Lisa Mezzacappa. Photo: Heike Liss

Lisa Mezzacappa is a San Francisco Bay Area-based bassist, bandleader, composer, curator and producer. An active collaborator in the Bay Area music community for more than a dozen years, she leads her own groups Bait & Switch, the Interlopers, Nightshade, Eartheaters and the Lisa Mezzacappa Trio, and co-leads the ensembles BODABODA, duo B., Cylinder, the Mezzacappa-Phillips Duo, and the Caribbean folk band Les Gwan Jupons. Lisa has released her music on the Clean Feed, NoBusiness, Leo, NotTwo, Evander, Odd Shaped Case and Edgetone record labels, and has recorded as a sideperson for the Tzadik, Kadima and Porto Franco labels. She collaborates frequently on cross-disciplinary projects in sound installation, film/video, sculpture and public music/art. lisamezzacappa.com

The poetics of discomfort

The invitation to write something for the ROVA communique is a rare chance for me to find language for some of the musical processes I’ve been grappling with for years; gratefully, outside the context of where most of my words about music go these days: grants and promotion. To write about what I’m trying to do musically for those contexts, I have to step outside of the making and try to sculpt a companion piece, a Cliffs Notes version, to attempt to fit all the misshapen pieces together into some tidier whole. In hopes of inviting in some sense of wonder or curiosity from the outside.

But that is not where the work comes from. It comes from a messy, unfocused, overwhelming, brilliant, seductive and terrifying pool of sensations, ideas, gut reactions, intellectual concerns, moral ambiguities. From books and movies and authors and actors and landscapes and cityscapes and card games and family stories and road trips and great journalism and trashy comedy and hope and despondency and fear and a need to connect different pasts through to the present and into the future. It is one glowing thought that stands out among the others that begs you to pick it up and listen to it.  And it always bubbles up from what is surrounding me in our musical community—it would be impossible to overstate the constant inspiration and influence I draw from longtime collaborators like Jason Levis, Randy McKean, Darren Johnston, Aaron Novik, Cory Wright, Phillip Greenlief, Aaron Bennett.

I’ve been thinking about the fallacy of the idea of “extramusical influences” in terms of what goes into making my music. It comes up a lot, since my recent projects are all wrapped up in crime novels, Victorian-era adventures, Italian vintage comics, ideas. And some seem to even self-consciously be about being about music, whether it’s Bartok and the Shaggs re-appropriated for an electro-acoustic improvising group, a drums and bass duo playing a Cecil Taylor solo, or a set of original tunes built from transcriptions of free jazz records. But I don’t think I’ve ever met an idea that wasn’t musical! It’s hard to explain, how the six months of library research mining obscure primary sources, or the nightly NASA tutorials clarifying some aspect of astrophysics, are just me composing.

[To read Lisa Mezzacappa's complete article click here.]


Favorite Street: Larry Ochs

Who are US - Thollem McDonas and Angela C Villa

SUPPORT THE ART of living, breathing creative artists. Villa creates all the images and folks – is a great editor. Yeah, turn off the sound if you want to, and just dig the montage alone. Riveting.

But I don’t recommend experiencing this in silence; Thollem kills the sound side of things here. The two of them are travelling all of 2016 throughout North America. And as Thollem performs everywhere, sometimes solo and sometimes in collaboration with locals, Villa shoots lots of travel images and close-ups of people and places. I can’t describe it. MORE THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS. Brilliant. I pretty much guarantee this will be noticed by the critics when the time comes for that. But you can check it out now and help them to keep it going.

Braxton plays Coltrane’s Impressions
(video on YouTube)
This footage is from 1981 Woodstock Jazz Festival, commemorating 10th anniversary of the founding of the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY. Featuring Chick Corea, Miroslav Vitous, and Jack DeJohnette.

Long on Logic - Rova Saxophone Quartet
1991 - Sound Aspects (Germany) SAS 037 (CD)
Recorded at Different Fur Recording, San Francisco, CA, March 5-6, 1989 (#1-4); at Bay Studios, Berkeley, CA, January 25-26, 1990 (#5-8) by Robert Shumaker.

Raskin and I have been talking about for years about making certain CDs long out-of-print available again. Finally, we got some valuable help from outside the band and loaded up a page at Bandcamp with current releases and some rare CDs you can’t find anywhere else. The highlight for me of this first batch is a CD that Rova put together in the early 1990’s: a quartet CD, and the first one released with Steve Adams. It features compositions by Fred Frith and Henry Kaiser as well as Rova pieces. After it was mounted, I clicked on the piece “Long on Logic” just to see that everything was working correctly. But – I liked what I heard so much that I listened to the entire 10-minute piece. And then I wrote Frith via email and enthusiastically raved about this piece, which I hadn’t heard in decades. Beautiful. Wrote it down on my Favorite Street list immediately.
Check it out here on our Bandcamp page

Senegal 70 (CD) 
This music comes from a period of “African fusion” that I’m very partial to. And this is a compilation of unreleased music from a very strong period in the history of that locally recorded music. Includes pieces by bands you’ve heard of if you’re in to this already, and lots of others. A great introduction too. The enclosed booklet in the actual CD is thick; full of priceless information on the history of Senegal’s music, the reasons it flourished, and info on all the bands.  Thus purchasing the physical CD really matters in this case.

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition 

This is a film fan’s dream exhibit. The show spans Kubrick’s entire career including a sampling of his photographs shot for Look Magazine, often influenced by Weegee, and his first two films: 10-minute documentary films, both of which are shown in complete form on video machines mounted on a wall. The cool thing is that most all of his completed films each have their own wall of information, stills, and samples of the films to be viewed with headphones giving the synchronized sound. There’s a lot more going on too, including a room at the end of the exhibit that holds a library full of work, etc. from his unfinished films. I was there for two hours and need to get back before the show closes.

Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets)
San Francisco

On DVD and Blu-ray:

Where to Invade Next 
Director, Michael Moore
Moore has a vision and he sticks to it. He’s devoted to something that can act as a lesson or sometimes even a model of how to improve the quality of life on earth. WHERE TO INVADE NEXT is funny, it is smart, and it really makes its point over and over in ways that resonate. The picture is ultimately touching even though you laugh a lot on the way thru.

Embrace the Serpent 
Director, Ciro Guerra

This film immediately entered my top 100 films of all time upon seeing it. I went back 3 months later—it was presented at a Berkeley multiplex for almost a full year—and I think it was better the second time. Shot in a glorious black and white in the Amazonia region of Colombia; incredible acting by some pros, but also a large group of one-time-only actors recruited from the depths of the local area. I have no idea how this will play on video, but I sent a copy to a friend of mine in NY, and he loved it on DVD. Some of the shots of the river and the transitional shots between the two eras that the movie takes place in are so incredible on the big screen. But I think you will love it on the small screen too. The lead character, played by 2 different actors in old age and in the character’s powerful early adulthood are mesmerizing. Recommend this on Blu-ray if you have that technology.

Brute Force 
A taut, searing black and white 1947 film starring Burt Lancaster. Classic dialogue, classic noir lighting in this film about an attempted jail break from an American prison. Influenced a lot of great French directors of the fifties and sixties. See this and The Naked City and White Heat, all made in the late 40’s when despair was hot in Hollywood. 

Directed by John Ford 
Director, Peter Bogdanovich
Yeah, I actually was tearing up in the last 12 minutes of this super-informative documentary when Bogdanovich, after making the case for Ford as the greatest American director, ended the film by presenting three of his favorite endings to Ford films. Of course The Searchers was one of these, but How Green Was My Valley—beautiful. Didn’t remember that ending (mainly because I found it hard to get to the end of that film; little too schmaltzy leading up to that.) Anyway, scene after scene as focused on in this film are analyzed by several talking heads in concise and revealing ways. In other words, whether or not you know Ford’s films, this documentary is right up there with other great films about film-making, and I heartily recommend it for the knowledge it imparts while also introducing you to so many highlights of Ford’s work. Not to mention some hilarious stories told by actors who worked often with him such as John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and James Stewart. Not to mention the incisive narration of the film by another great director named Orson Welles. Made in 1971.


New CD: Steve Adams / Scott Walton Duo

Cookies for Cyrano
Steve Adams: alto and baritone saxophones, bass flute, electronics
Scott Walton: bass

Purchase via pfMENTUM

Recorded Feb. 25, 2015 at Fantasy Studio B by Jesse Nichols.
Mixed July 8 and December 29, 2015 at Fantasy Studios by Jesse Nichols.
Mastered May 5, 2016 by Myles Boisen at the Headless Buddha Mastering Lab.

The Steve Adams/Scott Walton Duo has been performing since 2013. Steve is best known as a member of the Rova Sax Quartet, with whom he has played for over twenty five years, toured internationally and released more than twenty five recordings. His compositions have been performed at the Bang on a Can and Meet the Composer Festivals. Scott Walton is a bassist and pianist whose music negotiates the terrain between jazz, free improvisation, and the classical avant-garde.  He has performed throughout North America and Europe with groups he co-leads, and in a host of collaborative contexts.


Rova Member Shows

Friday, September 2, 7:00 PM

That Hideous Strength

Improvised soundtracks performed to works by Paul Clipson

Tania Chen - objects, electronics
Bruce Ackley - saxophone
Andy Strain - trombone
David Cuetter - pedal steel & therimin
Jorge Bachmann - eurorack synth
Josephine Torio - voice
Benjamin Tinker - arp 2600
Paul Clipson - film

Also appearing, Aram Shelton’s Y’reka and poet Ian Dolton-Thornton

3295 20th Street
San Francisco


Thursday, September 8, 8:00 PM

Ochs-Robinson Duo

Larry Ochs and Don Robinson continue adventures in sax and drums improvisatioins

Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market Street near 6th Street
San Francisco


Saturday, September 17, 7:00 PM

Play That Thing or Throw It Away

Ochs-Robair-Johnston Trio plus Special guests
Trio/Duo/Sextet = the trio of Larry Ochs, Darren Johnston + Gino Robair open. The duo of Mark Clifford (vibraphone) and Crystal Pascucci (cello) play next. Then a SEXTET including all 5 of these players plus SPECIAL GUEST AURORA JOSEPHSON adding her mighty vocal improvisations for a structured improvisation created by Ochs especially for this sextet.

Center for New Music
55 Taylor Street, Near Market
San Francisco


Sunday, September 18, 8:00 PM

Celebrating Vinny Golia's 70th Rotation around the sun

Composer / woodwind player / bandleader / general mover and shaker, Vinny Golia, celebrates his 70th birthday

For this special occasion, Vinny has one wish: to put together an ensemble of up to 70 musicians to create one of the largest ensembles he's ever directed. The cast will surely include some pals from Rova.

Finnish Hall
1970 Chestnut Street

The Finnish Hall is a large beautiful space 4 blocks from the North Berkeley BART just off University Avenue, and a few blocks east of San Pablo Avenue.


Tuesday, September 20, 8:00 PM

Georg Graewe - Jon Raskin Duo + Graewe Solo

Center for New Music
55 Taylor Street, near Market
San Francisco


Thursday, September 29, 8:30 PM

Gerald Cleaver - Larry Ochs Duo


19 Paul Fort, Paris


Saturday, October 1, 8:00 PM

The Vinny Golia Quartet

Vinny Golia - woodwinds
Steve Adams - woodwinds
Matt Small - bass
John Hanes - drums

LACC Clausen Hall
855 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Also appearing - Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey duo

Angel City Jazz Festival


Sunday, October 2, 7:00 PM

Gerald Cleaver & Larry Ochs "Cavern Project"

Grotte du Mas d'Azil near Toulouse, France
Very special Duo Concert in an ancient cave near Toulouse, France. This concert will be recorded live by Rogue Arts for eventual release. The Cave can hold an audience of approximately 100 to 150 people. Cave tours available earlier in the day.

Info at un pave dans le jazz


Sunday, October 30, 8:00 PM

Ochs - Shelton Quartet

Aram Shelton’s final concert prior to relocating to Copenhagen. Bring your white handkerchief and wave goodbye. But you also say hello to a new venue in the East Bay.

Larry Ochs + Aram Shelton – saxophones and compositions
Scott Walton – bass
Kjell Nordeson – drums

The Back Room
1984 Bonita Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704


RIP Rova Friend, Painter, Activist, Judith Lindbloom

Judith Lindbloom, abstract painter, resident of San Francisco, died of pulmonary failure on Friday, July 29. She was an avid jazz and improvised music listener, attending dozens of Rova and Rova-sponsored shows over the past 3 decades.

Untitled II, 1988

She was born in Detroit on July 12, 1933. On her 21st birthday she moved to New York City, drawn there by her love of jazz. She found work at Oxford University Press, where she met Gloria Granger, a painter who had studied with, Charles Pollock.

In the mid-1950's Ms. Lindbloom and Ms. Granger attended a play; during an intermission they looked at Franz Kline paintings set on easels in the lobby. With all of the bravado of someone who has not yet found her calling, Lindbloom said, "I could make paintings like these." Granger called her bluff saying, “I’ll supply you with canvas, paint and brushes." Thus began an active career in painting that lasted six decades, ending only a month before her death. By the late 1950's she was well known in the jazz clubs and artists' bars of New York. Saxophonist Sonny Rollins said he practiced for a time in a room with nothing in it but a Judith Lindbloom painting on a wall.

Lindbloom and friend, late 1950s

In the 1970s Lindbloom moved to San Francisco and resumed painting. Here she was also soon active in Alcoholics Anonymous and at The St. Martin de Porres House of Hospitality.

Her most recent solo exhibition was at Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, New York. Lindbloom's paintings are currently represented by Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY. Her work also became known through record cover art. For Roaratorio Records' LP offering, Steve Lacy's Sideways, she made 399 different original cover paintings. She did a number of other—less laborious—record covers for Roaratorio, as well as for the Black Saint and Verve labels. 

A memorial service is planned for October. In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, San Francisco, are suggested. 

--Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 3, 2016 

From a NT Times obit for the brilliant vibraphonist, Bobby Hutcherson, whom we also lost on August 15:
“Eric Dolphy said music is like the wind,” he told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2012. “You don’t know where it came from, and you don’t know where it went. You can’t control it. All you can do is get inside the sphere of it and be swept away.”


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


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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.

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.

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