Rova led by saxophonist Larry Ochs expands their translation of John Coltrane's "Ascension" in this amazing 3 disc CD/DVD/BluRay set of their cathartic performance at the 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival with a stellar lineup including Mazurek, Frith, Cline, Mori, Drake, &c &c.
Rova Channeling Coltrane
Electric Ascension - Live At The 2012 Guelph Festival + "Cleaning The Mirror - A Documentary by John Rogers" [Blu Ray + DVD + CD]
Released in: France
"Last year  the jazz world celebrated the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane's spiritually charged album, "A Love Supreme," a work embraced then and now as a masterpiece. The saxophonist's next major release, 1966's "Ascension," left the jazz world divided, and it's safe to say its golden anniversary is going to pass without much notice by the jazz establishment.
A 40-minute piece that explodes from a simple five-note theme referencing the "Acknowledgement" section of "A Love Supreme," "Ascension" is an ecstatic free jazz revelation featuring 11 musicians, including Coltrane's classic quartet and an almost ad hoc collection of horn players.
Where "A Love Supreme" served as a finely wrought vessel for Coltrane's spiritual yearning, "Ascension" was more like glimpsing the face of God directly, and many of Coltrane's fans refused to follow him into this daunting realm.
Leave it to Rova, the long-running Bay Area saxophone quartet featuring Steve Adams, Bruce Ackley, Jon Raskin and Larry Ochs, to put their own stamp on this marvelously unruly music. Their new release, "Rova Channeling Coltrane," is a three-disc set with a CD, DVD and Blu-ray of the 12-piece Orkestrova performing "Electric Ascension" at the Guelph Jazz Festival in Ontario in 2012.
Rova has been wrestling with "Ascension" for decades. They released an acoustic version of the work back in 1995 featuring the same instrumentation as Coltrane's recording. But when they revisited it as part of their 25th anniversary season in 2003, they included volatile electric guitarists Nels Cline and Fred Frith, and electronics experts Chris Brown and Ikue Mori.
I caught that concert and it was a stunning experience, but the version documented on "Rova Channeling Coltrane" is more powerful (the set also includes "Cleaning the Mirror," a thoughtful 44-minute film by Bay Area documentarian John Rogers on the enduring influence of "Ascension" and the making of "Electric Ascension").
Over four decades Rova has recorded a vast array of new music, generating their own material and often commissioning new works. Rova deftly sidesteps whatever pitfalls some jazz artists encounter by dwelling on the music of past masters by treating "Ascension" as a point of departure rather than a destination.
For Rova, Coltrane's improvisational framework serves as the fulcrum for a community of musicians. The cast here also includes two Chicago masters: powerhouse drummer Hamid Drake and the polymorphously creative cornetist Rob Mazurek. Arranged by Ochs and Raskin, "Electric Ascension" unfolds as a study in contrasts, with bristling density and gleaming transparency.
Interpreting a work as abstract and unbounded as this might seem like an invitation to let loose, but Rova's crew knows all about the power of silence and space. Free improvisation doesn't mean everybody wailing all the time. It's about listening as much as playing, and these musicians create a distinct choreography out of the music's tension and release, phasing in and out of the fray. When the thicket of sound clears, quiet interludes by Cline, Kihlstedt and Scheinman reveal the striking beauty and quietude that lurked within late-career Coltrane.
The saxophonist died of cancer in 1967 and his music evolved considerably in the two years after recording "Ascension." At the time he said, "There are always new sounds to imagine: new feelings to get at. ... But to do that at each stage, we have to keep on cleaning the mirror."
Rova takes that directive to heart. More than ever, this latest "Electric Ascension" distills truths and essences for an entire constellation of artists. While not for every listener, it's an album that can surprise, amaze and gratify if given the chance."-Andrew Gilbert, KQED.org
• Show Bio for Bruce Ackley
"Bruce Ackley was born in Rochester, New York in 1948. Following in his father's footsteps, he began singing in choral groups at age 10. (His father performed in a vocal sextet as a young man in the 1930s.) Bruce sang throughout his school years and finally took up the saxophone in 1970. He formed his first improvising trio that year with friends from his art school days at Wayne State in Detroit, where he studied painting and drawing. In 1971 he relocated to the Bay Area. Largely self-taught, Bruce studied saxophone briefly with Lee Hester and Noel Jewkes, and clarinet with Beth Custer and Ben Goldberg. Throughout the 1970s he was involved with the emerging free improvisation scene in San Francisco, and formed Sound Clinic with Lewis Jordan and George Sams in 1975. He began playing with Larry Ochs in 1973 and Jon Raskin in 1975, which led to the formation of Rova in the fall of 1977.
Since that time Ackley has mainly devoted his musical life to his work with Rova, with some notable side projects. In 1977 he performed and recorded with the quartet Twins, featuring John Zorn on reeds, and Eugene Chadbourne and Henry Kaiser on guitars. During the 1980s he played regularly with trombone-electronics wizard, J.A. Deane and drummer Joseph Sabella. They formed Planet X in 1992, which performed extensively in the Bay Area and made a recording at that time. Bruce has also performed with the Italian bass virtuoso, Stefano Scodanibbio. In 1996 they performed together with koto-electronics player Miya Masaoko, and the brilliant cellist, Rohan de Seram, formerly of the Arditti String Quartet. That year Ackley formed a trio to perform his more jazz-oriented original compositions, Actual Size, with George Cremaschi on bass and Garth Powell on drums. This led to the recording The Hearing by the Bruce Ackley Trio, featuring Joey Baron on Drums and Greg Cohen on bass, and released on the John Zorn-curated Japanese label Avant. During the late 1990s Bruce formed Frankenstein, a jazz repertory band that played the music of many of the forward-looking artists of the early '60s, particularly Grachan Moncur III, Andrew Hill, Eric Dolphy, and Jackie McLean-providing him an opportunity to dig into material that significantly impacted Ackley during formative years."-Rova:Arts (http://www.rova.org/about-us/bruce-ackley.html)
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• Show Bio for Steve Adams
"Steve Adams has appeared on more than fifty recordings, and has six recordings as leader or co- leader on the 9 Winds and Clean Feed labels, the latest of them being Surface Tension by the Steve Adams Trio.
Steve has performed the premieres of numerous classical compositions, including Prisoner of Love by Robert Aldridge for soprano saxophone and piano, Thomas Oboe Lee's Saxxologie... A Sextet for saxophone sextet and Louie MCMLV for saxophone quartet, and Passing Time by Jon Nelson for tenor saxo¬phone and computer-generated tape. He performed Edmund Campion's Corail for saxophone and computer generated electronics with the Berkeley Symphony and at the Ojai Music Festival. Steve has performed Darius Milhaud's Scaramouche and Pauline Oliveros' Outline for Double Bass, Flute, and Percussion at Mills College. He was a member of the 25th Anniversary performance of Terry Riley's In C, which was released on New Albion.
Steve has written more than fifty compositions for saxophone quartet, as well as many others for varied instrumentations. His piece Cage (for John Cage) was performed at the 1993 Bang on a Can festival, and his piece The Gene Pool was commissioned by Meet the Composer and performed at their festival "The Works" in Minneapolis in 2002. His composition Owed t'Don was recorded by the violin/marimba duo Marimolin on their CD Phantasmata . In recent years, Steve has begun creating graphic scores, now numbering more than 40. Steve has also written for theater, having composed scores for seven productions at the California Shakespeare Festival. He received a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2000 and a Meet the Composer grant in 1993, and teaches at Mills College. Steve is a graduate of the School of Contemporary Music in Brookline, MA and studied composition with Alan Crossman, Christopher Yavelov and Thomas Oboe Lee, saxophone with David Birkin and Indian music with Peter Row and Steve Gorn. "-Rova:Arts (http://www.rova.org/about-us/steve-adams.html)
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• Show Bio for Larry Ochs
"Larry Ochs (b. May 3, 1949, New York City) is an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Ochs studied trumpet briefly but concentrated on tenor and sopranino saxophones. He worked as a record producer and founded his own label, Metalanguage Records, in 1978, in addition to operating the Twelve Stars studio in California. He co-founded the Rova Saxophone Quartet, and also worked in Glenn Spearman's Double Trio. A frequent recipient of commissions, he composed the music for the play Goya's L.A. by Leslie Scalapino in 1994 and for Letters Not About Love, which was named best documentary film at SXSW in 1998. He has also played in a new music trio called Room and the What We Live ensemble. He has recorded several albums as a leader. He formed the group Kihnoua in 2007 with vocalist Dohee Lee and Scott Amendola on drums and electronics, which released Unauthorized Caprices in 2010. He is married to the poet Lyn Hejinian."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Ochs_(musician))
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• Show Bio for Jon Raskin
"Highlights of Rova founding member Jon Raskin's early career include his '70s participation in new music ensembles directed by John Adams (San Francisco Conservatory of Music) and Dr. Barney Childs (University of Redlands). Before Rova, Raskin served as music director of the Tumbleweed Dance Company (1974-77), was a founding member of the Blue Dolphin Alternative Music Space and participated in the creation of the Farm- an art project that included a city farm, a community garden, Ecology Center, Dance and Theater companies and organized the creation of a city park. Highlights as a member of Rova include composing a collaborative work for SF Taiko Dojo/Rova, working with Howard Martin on the installation work Occupancy, composing music for Mr. Bungle/ Rova, organizing the 30 year Anniversary Concert of John Coltrane's Ascension, performing the music of Miles Davis at the Fillmore with Yo Miles!, the Glass Head project with Inkboat and the ongoing Electric Ascension project.
Raskin has received numerous grants and commissions to work on a variety of creative projects: NEA composer grant for Poison Hotel, a theater production by Soon 3 (1988); Reader's Digest/Meet the Composer (1992 & 2000); Berkeley Symphony commission (1995) and Headland Center for the Arts Residency 2009.
Besides over 30 recordings with Rova, Raskin's recording experience include Anthony Braxton, Eight (+3) Tristano Compositions 1989 For Warne Marsh (1989) and The Bass & the Bird Pond with Tim Berne (1996), Wavelength Infinity- A Sun Ra Tribute, Between Spaces with Phillip Gelb, Dana Reason & Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley's In C 25th Anniversary, and solo work on the Art Ship Series. His current CDs include Let's go Juke Box Suite (Not Two) with the Rova Saxophone Quartet , JR Quartet (Rastascan) with Liz Allbee, George Cremaschi and Gino Robair, Music + One (Rastascan) an improvisation compendium for improvisers to play along with and Kaolithic Music, Jaw Harp Music recorded in a 587 Gallon Vase (Evander Music) He is working on several new recordings, one with a JR Quartet for release in 2009, a Rova project of graphic scores composed by Steve Adams and Jon Raskin, a compilation from the 2 + 2 series that Phillip Greenlief and Jon Raskin presented at the 21 Grand Performance Gallery in Oakland and a poetry and music project with Carla Harryman called Open Box.
Other groups are The Jon Raskin Quartet featuring Liz Albee on trumpet John Shiurba on bass and Gino Robair, a duo with Kanoko Nishi on Koto and a trio with Matthew Goodheart and Vladimir Tarasov."-Rova:Arts (http://www.rova.org/about-us/jon-raskin.html)
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• Show Bio for Nels Cline
"Nels Courtney Cline (born January 4, 1956 in Los Angeles) is an American guitarist and composer. He has been the guitarist for the band Wilco since 2004.
He first came to prominence in the 1980s playing jazz, often in collaboration with his twin brother Alex Cline, a drummer. Since then, he has worked with a wide range of musicians in punk and alternative rock, notably Mike Watt and Thurston Moore. He also leads the groups the Nels Cline Singers and Nels Cline Trio.
Cline was named the 82nd greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in November 2011."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nels_Cline)
^ Hide Bio for Nels Cline
• Show Bio for Ikue Mori
"Ikue Mori moved from her native city of Tokyo to New York in 1977. She started playing drums and soon formed the seminal NO WAVE band DNA, with fellow noise pioneers Arto Lindsay and Tim Wright. DNA enjoyed legendary cult status, while creating a new brand of radical rhythms and dissonant sounds; forever altering the face of rock music.
In the mid 80's Ikue started in employ drum machines in the unlikely context of improvised music. While limited to the standard technology provided by the drum machine, she has never the less forged her own highly sensitive signature style. Through out in 90's She has subsequently collaborated with numerous improvisors throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, while continuing to produce and record her own music. 1998, She was invited to perform with Ensemble Modern as the soloist along with Zeena Parkins, and composer Fred Frith, also "One hundred Aspects of the Moon" commissioned by Roulette/Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. Ikue won the Distinctive Award for Prix Ars Electronics Digital Music category in 99.
In 2000 Ikue started using the laptop computer to expand on her already signature sound, thus broadening her scope of musical expression. 2000 commissioned by the KITCHEN ensemble, wrote and premired the piece "Aphorism" also awarded Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship. 2003 commissioned by RELACHE Ensemble to write a piece for film In the Street and premired in Philadelphia. Started working with visual played by the music since 2004. In 2005 Awarded Alphert/Ucross Residency.
Ikue received a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2006. In 2007 the Tate Modern commissioned Ikue to create a live sound track for screenings of Maya Deren's silent films. In 2008 Ikue celebrated her 30th year in NY and performed at the Japan Society. Recent commissioners include the Montalvo Arts Center and SWR German radio program and Shajah Art foundation in UAE. Current working groups include MEPHISTA with Sylvie Courvoisier and Susie Ibarra, PHANTOM ORCHARD with Zeena Parkins, project with Koichi Makigami and various ensembles of John Zorn. New duo Twindrums project with YoshimiO workshop/lecture in various schools include University of Gothenburg, Dartmouth Collage, New England Conservatory, Mills Collage, Stanford University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago"-Ikue Mori Website (http://www.ikuemori.com/bio.html)
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• Show Bio for Rob Mazurek
"Rob Mazurek is an American electro-acoustic composer, cornetist, improviser and visual artist living in Chicago, Illinois. As a composer, Rob Mazurek has written over 300 original compositions over the past 30 years, and has released 55 recordings on various labels. He currently leads a number of ensembles, including Exploding Star Orchestra, Pharoah and the Underground (featuring Pharoah Sanders), Chicago Underground, Pulsar Quartet, São Paulo Underground, Skull Sessions, Sound Is Quintet, Starlicker, Mandarin Movie and Throne of the House of Good and Evil, each of which possesses its own distinct musical personality.
He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists, such as Bill Dixon, Pharoah Sanders, Mike Ladd, Roscoe Mitchell, Yusef Lateef, Fred Anderson, Naná Vasconcelos, Mamelo Sound System, Kassin and Marcelo Camelo and others. Additionally, Rob Mazurek works as a visual artist (incorporating sound, painting and video) with numerous international performances, exhibitions and artist residencies."-Rob Mazurek Website (http://robmazurek.com/)
^ Hide Bio for Rob Mazurek
• Show Bio for Hamid Drake
"Hamid Drake (born August 3, 1955) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. He lives in Chicago, IL but spends a great deal of time touring worldwide. By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in jazz and avant improvised music. Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free-jazz improvisers. Drake also has performed world music; by the late 70s, he was a member of Foday Musa Suso's Mandingo Griot Society and has played reggae throughout his career.
Drake has worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Archie Shepp and David Murray and bassists Reggie Workman and William Parker (in a large number of lineups)
He studied drums extensively, including eastern and Caribbean styles. He frequently plays without sticks; using his hands to develop subtle commanding undertones. His tabla playing is notable for his subtlety and flair. Drake's questing nature and his interest in Caribbean percussion led to a deep involvement with reggae."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamid_Drake)
^ Hide Bio for Hamid Drake
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Shipping Weight: 8.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Catalog ID: ROG-0065
Squidco Product Code: 21471
Format: DVD + BluRay + CD
Packaging: Digipack - 4 panel
Recorded live at the 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival in Guelph, Canada.
Bruce Ackley-soprano saxophone
Steve Adams-alto saxophone
Larry Ochs-tenor saxophone
Jon Raskin-baritone saxophone
Nels Cline-electric guitar
Fred Frith-electric bass
Carla Kihlstedt-violin, electronics
Ikue Mori-laptop electronics
Rob Mazurek-cornet, electronics
Highlight an artist name or instrument above
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Disc 1 - DVD
1. Electric Ascension - Live at Guelph Jazz Festival 68:35
2. Cleaning The Mirror - Documentary by John Rogers 44:55
Disc 2 - BluRay
1. Electric Ascension - Live at Guelph Jazz Festival 68:35
Disc 3 - CD
1. Electric Ascension 1 2:47
2. Electric Ascension 2 5:12
3. Electric Ascension 3 4:25
4. Electric Ascension 4 3:38
5. Electric Ascension 5 6:51
6. Electric Ascension 6 1:45
7. Electric Ascension 7 7:30
8. Electric Ascension 8 9:20
9. Electric Ascension 9 3:24
10. Electric Ascension 10 7:46
11. Electric Ascension 11 4:46
12. Electric Ascension 12 5:27
13. Electric Ascension 13 4:26