Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

168

Rova Saxophone Quartet: Resistance

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Rova Saxophone Quartet: Resistance Two premiere saxophone quartets came out of the final quarter of the last century, and both continue to carry on (each having lost one original member along the way). Rova and the World Saxophone Quartet (WSQ) are notable for having overcome the limitations posed by groupings of like instruments, each finding their way to distinct voices and full sounds.

Where they differ is in tradition. WSQ are unabashedly a jazz group, recording an album of Duke Ellington material and dedicating another to Miles Davis. Rova, on the other hand, fall into that undefined hinterland of "New Music," playing scored material and commissioning works from significant (sometimes jazz-leaning) composers.

Bruce Ackley, Larry Ochs and Jon Raskin marked the 25th anniversary of their first performance as Rova in February (Steve Adams replaced founding member Andrew Voight in 1998). Since the group's inception, they have collaborated with or played works by Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Henry Kaiser, John Adams, Kronos Quartet, Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Terry Riley, Fred Frith, Butch Morris, Alvin Curran and Steve Lacy, to name more than a few. In 1995, they arranged, performed and recorded a sax quartet version of John Coltrane's opus “Ascension.” Their resumé, in other words, is more than respectable.

With this new release (which inches their discography toward the 50 mark), they present three long and varied pieces. The title track, credited to the group, is a tour de force of form and style, slowly shifting moods and extended settings. The group is more often about environment than soloing, and here they remain a unit, with slow prolonged segments, a percussive passage (built on the sounds of padded saxophone keys shutting against the metal horn) and strong, melodious sections. The Ochs composition "The Drift" is a fun, slowly swinging blues.

Rova's long list of collaborators no doubt is the result of their ability to realize the different styles called for by different composers, and it can be revelatory to hear a familiar artist's voice spoken by musicians up for the job. Resistance closes with a composition by trumpet player Wadada Leo Smith entitled “The M'ad-din,” dedicated to the Sufi teacher Cerno Bokar Saalif Taal. The prolonged tones, interrupted by quick phrases, are adeptly played, reminiscent of Smith's own musical meditations.

The three tracks come from two studio sessions from 1997 and 2002, and as with most Victo releases the disc sounds bright and warm, keeping the recording process from standing in the way of the players (as the players themselves never block the view of the other composers with whom they work). If at times in the past Rova have come off as jagged or academic, here they play sweetly. A remarkable commemoration of their silver anniversary.


Track Listing: 1. Resistance (Rova) 19'36" 2. The Drift (Larry Ochs) 11'16" 3. The M

Personnel: BRUCE ACKLEY : soprano and tenor saxophones, STEVE ADAMS : alto and sopranino saxophones, LARRY OCHS : tenor and sopranino saxophones, JON RASKIN : baritone, sopranino and alto saxophones.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Victo | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read King Of Xhosa CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Blooming Tall Phlox CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Stripped" CD/LP/Track Review Stripped
by James Nadal
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Light The Early Years 1975-1989" CD/LP/Track Review Light The Early Years 1975-1989
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2016
Read "Ballads & Standards" CD/LP/Track Review Ballads & Standards
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 9, 2016
Read "Return" CD/LP/Track Review Return
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Trane 90" CD/LP/Track Review Trane 90
by Jim Trageser
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Moments in Time" CD/LP/Track Review Moments in Time
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!