All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Rova Saxophone Quartet: Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Rova Saxophone Quartet / Kyle Bruckmann / Henry Kaiser"

If you own a copy of the original Saxophone Special (Emanem, 1975), flip the LP over to view a photocopy of Steve Lacy's original notebook (with spiral binding) score of the compositions "Staples," "Swishes," and "Snaps." This is all music he performed at Wigmore Hall in London in December 1974 in a saxophone quartet that included Trevor Watts, Evan Parker, and Steve Potts. He also incorporated what he described as a "noise section" with guitarist Derek Bailey and the electronic synthesizer sounds of Michel Waisvisz. The original music was dedicated to Paul Gonzales, James Joyce, and Dizzy Gillespie. If you can connect those dots, I'd gladly send you a nice gift. Nonetheless, it is much easier to make the connections some forty-plus years later with this reinvention by ROVA Saxophone Quartet.

It was shortly after Lacy's and Anthony Braxton's experiments with improvising saxophone quartets that ROVA was formed. Now, forty years later, the members Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs, and Jon Raskin pay homage to this original spark. Kyle Bruckmann performs Waisvisz' role and Henry Kaiser, who collaborated with Bailey on several projects, most notably Wire Forks (Shanachie, 1993), holds down the guitar chair. Like their recreations of John Coltrane's "Ascension," (their "Electric Ascension"), this Lacy tribute is not performed as a repertory band, but as themselves. Having defined the genre of improvising saxophone quartet for many decades, we wouldn't want it any other way. ROVA performs the five Saxophone Special pieces, plus two additional Lacy compositions, "Clichés" and "Sidelines." The music is an ideal collision of the incomparable music of Lacy, the impeccable approach of ROVA, and noisy bits or the scratching, feedback claws of Kaiser and Bruckmann. The quartet-plus-two doesn't ignore melodies, they festoon them with their now distinctive sound, exploding themes into a million parts. A great listening experience like this, somehow assures you it was indeed a blast at the recording session.

Track Listing: Staples; Swishes; Sops; Snaps; Dreams; Clichés; Sidelines.

Personnel: Bruce Ackley: soprano saxophone; Steve Adams: alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone; Larry Ochs: tenor saxophone, sopranino saxophone; Jon Raskin: baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone; Kyle Bruckmann: analog synthesizers; Henry Kaiser: guitar.

Title: Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Nellie Bly Project" CD/LP/Track Review Nellie Bly Project
by Paul Rauch
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "Flux Reflux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Live At The Magic Triangle" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Magic Triangle
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Obsidian" CD/LP/Track Review Obsidian
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "The Apple Of No" CD/LP/Track Review The Apple Of No
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "The Poetry of Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review The Poetry of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 16, 2018