Indeed, similar concerns inform many of Ochs' projects, including the lithely-improvised landscapes of all three Maybe Monday discs and his recent contribution to the Rogue Art label, Spiller Alley
. The remarkable sonic pallet Ochs conjures even leaves its mark on the compositions of others. 2003's Electric Ascension is as much an update as a tribute, bringing Coltrane's quasi-modal composition into starkly modern relief. "I really feel like we had something to offer," states Ochs, "and that we still do, because the piece can change so much depending on who's involved." The live recording, released on Atavistic in 2005, shares the cinematic approach with The Mirror World, using several of the same musicians. However, Ikue Mori and Otomo Yoshihide bring their own vast sonic arsenals into the mix, the whole underpinned by the swinging rhythms of Donald Robinson, one of the drummers (along with Scott Amendola
) for yet another Ochs ensemble, the Sax and Drumming Core (now a quintet with Satoko Fujii
and Natsuki Tamura).
A harder rawer edge can be heard in much of The Core's recent work and Ochs' playing, as mutable as his compositional approach, follows suit. Much should be said of his tenor and sopranino saxophone work, veering wildly as it does between the emotive power of the Trane/Ayler axis and the pointillisms of AACM membership or European improv. It is particularly fine on Juke Box Suite, the most recent Rova disc, released on Not Two last year. Perhaps such versatility comes from being self-taught. "Teachers," Ochs laughs. "Braxton, Roscoe [Mitchell], Leo SmithI learned from all of them."
Rova, Favorite Street: Rova Plays Lacy
(Black Saint, 1983)
What We Live, Trumpets
(Black Saint, 1996-98)
Larry Ochs/Joan Jeanrenaud/Miya Masaoka, Fly Fly Fly
Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core, Up from Under (Out Trios, Vol. 5)
Larry Ochs/Rova Special Sextet/Orkestrova, The Mirror World
Larry Ochs/Miya Masaoka/Peggy Lee, Spiller Alley
(Rogue Art, 2006) Photo CreditClaudio Casanova