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

:: September - October 2018 ::

Live at Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada. May, 2018

In This Dispatch:

Rova: No Favorites in LA

The Aggregate: Rova + Braxton Re-issue

French Tour, Fall 2018

Rova Member Shows

RIP Ken Pickering

Lately and forthcoming…

Rova offered a focused set of our latest works at the FIMAV Festival in rural Quebec in May. We reflected that it was Rova’s 5th appearance in Victoriaville since the inception of the festival in 1984, and according to its organizer, Michel Levasseur, one of our best. Because our latest CD release is on the Les Disques Victo label, sponsored by the festival, it was fitting for the band to present the In Transverse Time program in its entirety, along with other recent works.

In June we recorded several versions of our group composition, NC-17; in late September we’ll record several works that have been in the Rova book for some time, and which are ripe for documentation. All those and NC17 will comprise the next Rova release, be that digital or otherwise, sometime in 2019. Later this year we’ll team up with Gino Robair to kick off a dream idea of Jon Raskin’s: a Rova recording project that engages the studio and producer to create a sonic world not possible with 4 saxophone players alone. It will be a multi-layered complex of ideas generated by the 5 of us, with Gino serving as producer and all-around instigator. We envision a staged process in which we gather and catalog ideas, record information, and then do some post-production magic to assemble the work. Progress reports will be forthcoming.
In October 2018 Rova will return to France for the first time in many years, playing Brest, Nantes, Tours and Paris. It will be quick and too short, but a good hit in a country we now visit infrequently. We’ll have a lot of new Rova information to share with our French friends this time around.   

Below are details about our upcoming show as part of the Angel City Jazz Festival. We haven’t played Los Angeles in years, so it will be great to share our very special collaborative work, No Favorites, a Tribute to Butch Morris, with our SoCal friends.

Rova: No Favorites in LA @Angel City Jazz Festival

Sunday, September 30, 8:00 PM


A special Rova-led large ensemble, performing three original works by members of Rova, all dedicated to the spirit of the late great 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 of ours, reaching back to the mid-1970s.

Rova does more than simply pay tribute. The quartet’s members build on their own work in structured improvisation, incorporate other methods of organization—from graphic scores to conventional notation—and expand their palette from the saxophone quartet to include a string quartet and an electric power trio. Extending the possibilities of large-ensemble improvisation, the combined groups create music of both depth and an ever-changing surface, the fruit of both intense commitment and a highly creative, heterodox methodology. Like previous Rova expansions—the recently revived Rova Saxophone Octet, first convened in 1992; Orkestrova 2002 playing pieces by Satoko Fujii and Steve Adams; Electric Ascension (2003–2018); The Celestial Septet, with the Nels Cline Singers (2008-11); and The Receiving Surfaces with John Zorn (2010)—it achieves complex music that both requires and rewards active listening.

We’re especially excited to be invited by Angel City Jazz Festival to present No Favorites in Los Angeles for the first time. With this stellar lineup of musicians, there are sure to be special sonic surprises and revelations.

Larry Ochs - tenor sax | Jon Raskin - baritone sax I Bruce Ackley - soprano sax | Steve Adams - alto, sopranino sax

Lauren Elisabeth Baba – violin
Eyvind Kang - viola
Maggie Parkins - Cello
Mark Dresser - bass
Jeff Parker - electric guitar
Tina Raymond - drums
Steuart Liebig - electric bass
Gino Robair – Conduction


2478 Fletcher Drive
Los Angeles


The Aggregate: Rova + Braxton Reissue

Cover art by Doug Hall

Rova’s prospects for launching itself into the late 1970s indy jazz-improv scene were increased exponentially by the early advocacy of Anthony Braxton. Substantiated legend has it that AB was in the (then West German) office of the Moers Festival of New Jazz—a preeminent music festival in Europe at the time—in May 1978 when he heard a cassette of a Rova demo. Excited by what he was hearing, Braxton exclaimed that the festival’s executive director, Burkhard Hennen, should hire us! Around October that year, Larry Ochs was surprised by a letter of invitation to not only play Moers, but to do a Moers-sponsored tour of Europe. Thus began Rova’s European connection, and our fellowship with Anthony Braxton—one of the true innovators in modern music.

When Braxton came to the west coast to teach at Mills College, Rova had the opportunity to record with him. Although the 5 of us had done some informal playing, his presence on the coast gave Rova and other serious practitioners access to Mr. Braxton’s wealth of knowledge, and exposed us to his infinitely generous spirit.

All of us were eager to play, perform and record together, and Larry, Jon and Anthony each refashioned existing works for the Rova-Braxton Quintet to play. The results were and are exciting and mind-bending.
We’re grateful that New Braxton House has made this long out-of-print recording available again on Bandcamp, beginning September 4: https://newbraxtonhouse.bandcamp.com/album/the-aggregate

The Aggregate by Anthony Braxton / Rova Saxophone Quartet  
First released January 1, 1989

Bruce Ackley: soprano saxophone, Bb clarinet 
Anthony Braxton: contrabass, bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano, and sopranino saxophones 
Larry Ochs: tenor, alto, and sopranino saxophones 
Jon Raskin: baritone and alto saxophones, Bb clarinet 
Andrew Voigt: tenor, alto, and sopranino saxophones, flute 

The Shopper (Ochs)
The Aggregate (Raskin) 
Composition 129+ (Braxton)

Tracks 1 and 3 recorded live at Koncepts Cultural Gallery, Oakland, CA on July 30th, 1988 
Track 2 recorded live at PreEchoes 2 in San Francisco, CA on August 22, 1986 

Digital recording for both sessions by Robert Shumaker 
Cover art by Doug Hall 
Mastered at Studios Bauer, Ludwigsburg, in August 1989 by J. Wohlleben 
Produced by ROVA and Pedro de Freitas

Review of The Aggregate:

Braxton had long been fond of working with improvising wind ensembles. In fact, the earliest incarnation of what would become the World Saxophone Quartet appeared on his landmark Arista album, New York, Fall, 1974. So his collaboration with the ROVA quartet came as no surprise. Two pieces are by ROVA members, and a long work, Composition 129 (+ 40F + 40O), is by Braxton. The opening cut, Larry Ochs' The Shopper, is an aggressive, rhythmic piece, with a staccato line forming a solid basis for solos by all members. Jon Raskin's title piece is lush, with a relaxed counterpoint tossed back and forth beneath the solos and rich harmonies reminiscent of Julius Hemphill's beautiful arrangements for the World Saxophone Quartet. The composer does some very beautiful and rich baritone work on this piece, and the group improv sections are imaginative and compelling. The Braxton composition is knotty and compelling, filled with written passages having only a nodding acquaintance with jazz traditions but also including a couple of sections where faint glimmers of Ellington and a hint of march-time can be discerned. It's a testament to the musicianship of the ROVA band that they are capable of negotiating this intricate piece not only with mastery but humor as well. The Aggregate is a challenging recording, more so than most by more jazz-oriented saxophone quartets, but very rewarding on its own terms and an important document in Braxton's work for woodwind ensembles.
- Brian Olewnick, All Music


French Tour, October, 2018

Brest - Thursday, October 11, 8:45 PM


ANTONIN-TRI HOANG - alto saxophone, clarinets
MARS WILLIAMS - saxophones, toys
TATSU AOKI - double bass, shamishen, videos

Nantes - Friday, October 12, 9:00 PM


Tours - Saturday, October 13, 8:00 PM


Paris - Sunday, October 14, 8:00 PM



Rova Member Shows

Saturday, September 15, 8:30 PM

Lo Conocen

Tribute to dancer Kinji Hayashi

The Hemlock

1131 Polk St.
San Francisco


Bruce Ackley, reeds
Karl Evangelista, guitar

Nava Dunkelman, percussion
Jordan Glenn, trap set


Opening for: Bill Orcutt and Tashi Dorji, guitars

Tashi Dorji
          Bill Orcutt
Wednesday, September 26, 7:30 PM

Ghost in the House + Guests

Tribute to dancer Kinji Hayashi

Canessa Gallery

708 Montgomery Street @ Washington
San Francisco


Ghost in the House:

Polly Moller, flutes
Karen Stackpole, gongs
Tom Nunn, sound inventions
John Ingle, alto sax
David Michalak, lap steel guitar
+ Guests: Bruce Ackley and Christina Braun


Initiated by Darren Johnston and imagined originally as a one-off recording project, this un-categorizable quintet spearheaded collaboratively now by Johnston, Frith and Ochs has reformed in 2018 for tours, live recordings and unchartered adventures in sound and space. For this performance, the core players will be joined by Frith cohorts Jordan Glenn and Jason Hoopes.

East Bay and San Francisco shows!!

Wednesday, October 24, 8:00 PM
The Back Room
1984 Bonita

Sunday, November 4, 7:30 PM
Bird & Beckett Books
653 Chenery
San Francisco

Sunday, October 28, 8:30 PM

Larry Ochs / Donald Robinson Duo

The Poet & the Patriot
320 Cedar Street
Santa Cruz



RIP Ken Pickering

Ken Pickering, co-founder of the Vancouver Jazz Festival and the event’s artistic director, who was loved and appreciated by jazz and improvising musicians world-wide, died on August 10, succumbing to cancer.

Pickering helped launch the festival in 1985 and brought his jazz erudition to bear to ensure that it promoted music of the highest caliber. He was a passionate advocate for music on jazz’s cutting edge.

We Rovas first met Ken in 1978, when we played Vancouver’s Western Front alongside Evan Parker solo. I remember hanging with him at his house and Black Swan Records, sharing meals and stories with him, and learning about Canadian jazz players that were news to me. As I remember it, we first met and played with bassist Lisle Ellis and pianist Paul Plimley because Ken arranged it.

Ken’s energy and enthusiasm kept a vibrant scene happening in Vancouver, enabling Rova and many friends to get up to BC and the northwest to play numerous times. Ken, you’ll be sorely missed! We’ll continue to send sounds to the universe with your name on them! 


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.

Bandcamp! Bandcamp!

We’re now offering both new and impossible to find Rova recordings and other points of interest on our Bandcamp page. Be sure to check out recordings there, including, Saxophone Special, No Favorites, as well as, for example, the long out-of-print 1990 recording Long on Logic that we are making available as a CD download for the first time.

Help Support Rova:Arts with Amazon Smile!

Share this link: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3015358 and ask your donors, volunteers, employees, and friends to bookmark this link so all their eligible shopping will benefit Rova:Arts.

Send an email: In your next email newsletter to supporters, promote your AmazonSmile participation and include the link above.

Copy and paste this message in a Facebook post: When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Rova:Arts. Bookmark the link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3015358 and support us every time you shop.

Copy and paste this message in a Tweet: Amazon donates to Rova:Arts when you shop @AmazonSmile. http://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3015358 #YouShopAmazonGives



Be sure to visit us online: