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Rova Orkestrova: No Favorites!

Read "No Favorites!" reviewed by Troy Collins

Ever since its formation in 1977, Rova, the pioneering West Coast saxophone quartet, has been augmenting its ranks to explore structured improvisation. No Favorites! pays homage to Lawrence D. “Butch" Morris, the inventor of Conduction, a revolutionary system for organizing large-ensemble improvisation using coded gestures. This ambitious album epitomizes a working relationship that Rova began with Morris in 1988, while also reflecting parallel working methods reaching back to the mid-1970s. Building on previous efforts in this milieu, the saxophone quartet ...

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Rova: Totally Spinning

Read "Totally Spinning" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

Depending on your preference among saxophone quartets, Rova (comprised of Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams) and the World Saxophone Quartet would have to rank numbers 1 and 1A. Rova has always been perceived as the more avant-garde of the two, more prone to explorations of abstract sound, closer in spirit (and practice) to Coltrane's Ascension than Ellington. Ten years ago, however, when Totally Spinning was recorded, Rova was at its most lyrical. Sure, ...

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ROVA Orkestrova: Electric Ascension

Read "Electric Ascension" reviewed by Kurt Gottschalk

Electing to interpret for the second time John Coltrane's seminal free jazz blowout Ascension was an odd move for West Coast sax quartet Rova to make on the band's 25th anniversary in 2003. Their motives aside, what it amounted to was restaging one of the band's least interesting records--based on a morass as individual as a fingerprint to begin with--and adding eight guests who toted along samplers, turntables, and violins. It would seem to hold about as much interest as ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Rova: John Coltrane's Ascension & Electric Ascension

Read "Rova: John Coltrane's Ascension & Electric Ascension" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

“There is never any end. There are always new sounds to imagine: new feelings to get at. And always, there is a need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we've discovered in its pure state. So that we can see more clearly what we are. In that way, we can give to those who listen, the essence--the best of what we are. But to do that at each stage, we have to ...

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ROVA::Orkestrova: Electric Ascension: An Interpretation of John Coltrane's Ascension

Read "Electric Ascension: An Interpretation of John Coltrane's Ascension" reviewed by John Kelman

When John Coltrane put together five saxophonists, two trumpets, two basses, piano, and drums to record Ascension forty years ago, his decision would polarize the jazz world. To fans of the more traditional forms from which Coltrane emerged, the two versions of the composition--and, as free as it was, it was a composition--represented something akin to musical blasphemy. To listeners with a less rigid definition of what jazz was--and, more importantly, with a view of what it could be--the recording ...

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ROVA: As Was

Read "As Was" reviewed by Derek Taylor

Saxophone quartets are no longer the radical innovation they once were. Groups like The Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet and The Brooklyn Saxophone Quartet among others have appropriated the mantle originally carved out by ensembles like ROVA and the World Saxophone Quartet and in the process made the instrumentation a far more commonplace occurrence. But back in 1981 when As Was was first released ROVA and the WSQ were essentially the only ensembles on the block willing throw their creative ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Rova: Morphological Echo

Read "Morphological Echo" reviewed by Robert Spencer

Morphological Echo, the Rova saxophone quartet's twentieth-anniversary release consists of a 1989 New Year's Eve recording and one track from 1992. The 1989 piece is the bravura “Maintaining the Web Under Less Than Obvious Circumstances," a six-part meta-suite which takes up 32 of this disc's 47 minutes. Rova's strengths are deployed here to dazzling effect: top-notch instrumentalism, passionate intensity and quiet fire, extraordinarily subtle and skillful ensemble passages. Individual voices emerge, combine with others, separate out again, and melt back ...


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