Rova / Rova:Arts
115 Central Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94117

:: Sept - Nov 2019 ::
Newly reissued Saxophone Diplomacy, 1983 Soviet Union recordings

In This Dispatch:

Rova Bay Area Shows

Fall, 2019 Midwest US Tour
Rova CDs: Saxophone Diplomacy and Planetary

Upcoming Rova Member Shows

Unexpected Twins CD Review


The past several months have been busy ones for Rova. We’ve been behind closed doors, preparing work, making new recordings, and rehearsing new pieces for the fall season. We spent several days earlier in the year creating a studio-based set of pieces—music we couldn’t create without the aid of a producer and studio tools. We partnered with Gino Robair, as recording engineer and producer, to lay down ideas which we could then manipulate in myriad ways to make surprising things happen. The post-production end of this project is really endless. Steve and Jon have taken the lead to assemble some compelling tracks with the goal of compiling a CD’s-worth of material.
We also completed a more “traditional” recording project that features new works by Rova members. The Circumference of Reason should be available on CD in 2020.
And, speaking of CDs, the Swiss label HatHut has just reissued Rova’s 1984 recording, Saxophone Diplomacy, documenting the quartet’s historic June, 1983 tour of Romania, Russia and Latvia. If you pre-order the CD from our Bandcamp page, you will also receive an exclusive, private digital download of the music via email. See more information on this and other CDs below.
Getting a studio tan with Popular Tectonics (Rova with Tom Djll, left; Gino Robair, right front)
Inspired by our spontaneous collaboration with Unpopular Electronics (the duo of Gino Robair and Tom Djll) during the Garden of Memory event in June this year, in August we went into Gino’s home studio to record open improvisations together. Philip Perkins engineered the proceedings and first listenings reveal that we were able to glean some exciting electro-acoustic improvs during our day in front of the mics.
The fall finds Rova active both locally and on the road, with Bay Area concerts, and a short tour to the Midwest. We’ll return to Ann Arbor’s Edgefest, which will present many California musicians in their OUT West-themed festival. In addition to playing a Rova set, we’ll be a part of Vinny Golia’s Large Ensemble performance to close out the festival. We’ll also return to Chicago and Pittsburgh, places we haven’t seen in years.
A highlight of our local schedule is the St. Cyprian’s concert in remembrance of friend Marlene Aron. This will be a special evening we hope you can make.  

Bay Area Rova Shows 

Saturday, September 28, 3:00 PM

Rova Plays San Francisco Public Library – Main Branch

SFPL – Main Branch, Koret Auditorium

100 Larkin Street
San Francisco 94102 
More details here.
Rova will offer a FREE concert in the beautiful Koret Auditorium in the basement of the Main Branch of SF Public Library. Free library gigs are inspiring because we see so many new listeners get turned on to the rich sound of the saxophone quartet, along with Rova’s unique blend of improvisation and composition. This will make for a perfect Saturday afternoon outing.

Saturday, October 12th, 8:00 PM

Rova Plays San Francisco – A Concert for Marlene Aron  

SF Live Arts at St. Cyprian’s Church presents
A concert in remembrance of Marlene Aron
Woven in Time, Woven in Time, We Become – 2016, Marlene Aron
We were shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of our friend Marlene Aron a year ago. Marlene was a remarkable artist, art historian and activist. The way she integrated her world view and her work was an inspiration. As the community recovers from the incredible loss of one of its dearest members, Rova is honored to present a concert in her memory, featuring a new work dedicated to her and composed by Bruce Ackley. The quartet has also cooked up several new pieces for the event. Both for its acoustics, and great collective spirit, St. Cyprian’s is an ideal spot to hear Rova. We hope to see you there!

St. Cyprian’s Church

2097 Turk Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94115
More details here.

Sunday, October 13, 8:30 PM

Rova Plays Berkeley

The Back Room

1984 Bonita Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
Doors at 8:00 PM
More details here.
Rova returns to play in the laid back and intimate Back Room. Our last show there was packed, so think about getting tickets ahead.


Fall, 2019 Midwest US Tour

Chicago: Friday, October 18, 8:30 PM


3111 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
More details here.

Ann Arbor, Edgefest: Saturday, October 19, 8:00 PM

Bethlehem United Church of Christ

423 South 4th Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
More details here.
This year’s Edgefest will feature West Coast musicians for its OUT West theme. Pictured (left to right
Top to bottom) are: Oluyemi Thomas, Lisa Mezzacappa, Sarah Schoenbeck, Rova, Wayne Horvitz,
William Hooker, Bobby Bradford, Vinny Golia, and Myra Melford.
Rova will play a quartet set, and then join Vinny Golia’s Large Ensemble for the second set.

Pittsburgh: Sunday, October 20, 7:30 PM

Rova + Ben Opie and Josh Wulff

First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh

605 Morewood Avenue 
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

More details here.


Rova CDs: Saxophone Diplomacy and Planetary

hatOLOGOY 721


Bruce Ackley, soprano sax
Andrew Voigt, alto sax
Larry Ochs, tenor sax
Jon Raskin, baritone and alto sax
Two weeks after our so-called president’s 2018 “summit meeting” with V. Putin in Finland, we got a call from Swiss producer Werner Uehlinger, owner of the long-standing Hat Hut recording label, wondering what we thought of re-releasing Saxophone Diplomacy, recorded live in the USSR in 1983. Coincidence? We may never know. This USSR recording occurred at a time when the Republican President Reagan and all his Republican friends (and many others) referred to the USSR as “The Evil Empire.” Rova and the music fans in the city then known as Leningrad (who helped organize a six city tour) were on a different wavelength from the politicians of 1983, just as we are now. True cultural exchange occurred. And this moving music was part of that.
With the release of this issue of On ROVA’S RADAR, you can go to the “Rova Saxophone Quartet” Bandcamp page and pre-order the CD. It will begin shipping from Rova:Arts on September 30. The pre-order will include the CD, along with an exclusive digital download of the music sent to you by email.


PLANETARY – Last Call!
As even the guy posing as US President is learning, working with a business entity from Moscow can be somewhat tricky. Rova thought that our 2012 CD release Planetary had sold out long ago, and that the CD label had ceased to publish improvised music. But earlier this year, the legendary owner of the label “SoLyd” (it’s a long story) re-contacted us to say that 40 copies of the CD had been discovered. Rova now has those copies available, and they can be ordered from the Rova Saxophone Quartet Bandcamp website. As of this writing 33 copies remain.
Bruce Ackley, soprano and tenor sax
Steve Adams, alto sax
Larry Ochs, tenor sax
Jon Raskin, baritone and alto sax

  1. Parallel Construction #1   (Adams / 5:02)
  2. S     (Ochs / 7:55)
  3. Flip Trap   (Adams / 5:35)
  4. Glass Head Concretion (Adams / 11:06)
  5. Planetary   (Ochs / 17:05)
  6. Parallel Construction #2   (Adams / 10:26)

Upcoming Rova Member Shows

Tuesday, Sept. 24th, 7:30 PM 


w/ special guests  MADALYN MERKEY + TIM PERKIS

Larry Ochs, saxophones; Darren Johnston, trumpet; Madalyn Merkey, electronics; Tim Perkis, electronics
After years performing in the all-winds improvisation trio SPECTRAL, Ochs + Johnston get together for a special first-time quartet meeting with electronics masters Tim Perkis and Madalyn Merkey. The hope here: to combine improvising sensibilities while simultaneously setting each other up time and again to capitalize on structural possibilities that give rare and meaningful form to an otherwise very spontaneous music.

Center for New Music

55 Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

More details here.

Wednesday, Sept. 25th, 6:00 – 9:00 PM

Towards a Solidarity Economics Conduction System for Improvisors

Presented by the Center for Cultural Innovation, in partnership with Music Research Strategies and Pro Arts Gallery & Commons, TOWARDS A SOLIDARITY ECONOMICS CONDUCTION SYSTEM FOR IMPROVISERS is a participatory workshop facilitated by Marshall Trammell that invites attendees to critique Capitalism and its machinations through music and improvisation.
Participants will include: Bruce Ackley, Amy Reed, Dillon Vado, Sharmi Basu, Biggi Vinkeloe, Kim Nucci, Tom Bickley, Kevin Lo, Jemma DeCristo (JD Marcus), David Elaine Alt, Tracy Hui.

Pro Arts Gallery and Commons

150 Frank Ogawa Plaza
Oakland 94612

More details here.

Sunday, September 29th, 8:00 PM

Bruce Ackley - Henry Kaiser and Friends Explore the Music of Steve Lacy

Featuring Bruce Ackley (soprano sax), Scott R. Looney (piano), Danielle DeGruttola (cello), Nava Dunkelman (percussion), Henry Kaiser (guitar and electric bass) and Lisa Mezzacappa (acoustic bass)

Steve Lacy and friend

The Back Room

1984 Bonita Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704

More details here.

Friday, October 4th, 8:00 PM

Burton Greene, Solo Piano; Ackley/Fluke-Mogul/Dunkelman Trio

Bruce Ackley, soprano sax; Gabby Fluke-Mogul, violin; Nava Dunkelman, percussion

Burton Greene

During a rare Bay Area visit, Burton Greene will present a set of solo acoustic piano works and improvisations. A veteran of the first wave of the New York free jazz movement of the 1960s, Greene now resides in Amsterdam. Thanks to an engagement he has with Patty Waters in LA, Burton will make his way to the Bay Area for shows where new audiences will be able to hear the piano magic he’s created over the past 6 decades. Opening the evening will be a set by the new Ackley/Fluke-Mogul/Dunkelman Trio.
Greene will also play a duo concert with percussionist Dave Brandt on Monday, September 30th at ProArts Gallery in Oakland in the Oakland Freedom Jazz Society series. Learn more here.

Center for New Music

55 Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

More details here.

Monday, October 7th, 8:30 PM

The Out of Bounds Trio

Jon Raskin, saxophones; Safa Shokrai, bass; Tim Bulkley, drums

Also: Missing, electro-acoutis improvisation with movement

Phillip Greenlief, tenor saxophone; Min Yoon, movement; Shariface, electronics; Kevin Corcoran - percussion

Oakland Freedom Jazz Society

3225 22nd Street @ Mission
San Francisco 94110

Wednesday, October 23rd, 8:00 PM


A restored film by David Michalak, with a score by Thollem

Photos: Gerald Michalak as Jarl, Billie-Marie as Otillia

San Francisco filmmaker and musician David Michalak will screen his restored expressionist, silent feature film, starring Billie-Marie in dual roles, with a new score by Thollem McDonas. “remarkable....poetic and hypnotic...” Selected film-frame prints will be on view in the lobby.
The show will open with a short set by Rova’s Bruce Ackley.

Center for New Music

55 Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Saturday, October 26th, 8:00 PM

Ross Hammond / Bruce Ackley Duo

Bruce Ackley, soprano sax; Ross Hammond, guitar

Gold Lion Arts

2733 Riverside Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95818

More details here.

Monday, November 4th, 8:30 PM

Kevin Corcoran & Jon Raskin Duo

Kevin Corcoran, drums
Jon Raskin, saxophones

It's a question of time, fully examined.

Kevin Corcoran

The Make Out Room

3225 22nd Street & Mission
San Francisco, CA 94110

Tuesday, November 5 at 7:30 PM

Trio: Fluke-Mogul / Lisa Mezzacappa / Bruce Ackley 

Tom’s Place

3111 Deakin Street
Berkeley, CA 94705

More details here.

Saturday, November 16th, 8:00 PM

The Time Beings

Jason Levis, drums
Lisa Mezzacappa, bass
Jon Raskin, saxophones

Jon Raskin

Gold Lion Arts

2733 Riverside Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95818

Sunday, November 24 at 3:00 PM

The Steve Adams/Ken Filiano Duo

Ken Filiano

A rare Bay Area performance by the Adams/Filiano Duo in the intimate space of the Maybeck Studio. Drawing on their 40 years of shared history, they’ll explore their past and future, possibly simultaneously. 

Steve Adams - woodwinds, electronics
Ken Filiano - bass, electronics

The Maybeck Studio

1547 Euclid Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94708

More details here.
Tickets $20/$10 seniors and students, reservations required through Maybeck Studio website. 


Twins CD Review


Unexpected Twins (Relative Pitch, 2019) ****½ 

"This is a terrific album that jumped out at me upon my perusal of the upcoming Relative Pitch releases mainly due to the personnel involved (eye-catching cover art notwithstanding)…this is a fantastic album by four masters of creative music that is by turns musically unique, conceptually interesting, and very, very tasty."
--Nick Metzger, from his review of the recent Unexpected Twins CD. You can read the entire review here.
Unexpected Twins is a redux of the late ‘70s two sax, two guitar band that was the brainchild of Eugene Chadbourne, and included the Dr. Chad, John Zorn, Henry Kaiser and Bruce Ackley. Aram Shelton and Fred Frith joined Ackley and Kaiser to revisit the format, playing both some of the original Twins repertoire, and some new works by each of the players. The CD is out now and available through Relative Pitch.


Join the Rova:Arts Community

Become a Fan on Facebook!

Already a fan? Encourage your Facebook friends to become Rova:Arts fans. Find us on FB here.

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 our Youtube page 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. 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: 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 and support us every time you shop.

Copy and paste this message in a Tweet: Amazon donates to Rova:Arts when you shop @AmazonSmile. #YouShopAmazonGives

Be sure to visit us online: