Paying homage to one of the most original creators in improvised music, Lawrence 'Butch' Morris, the Bay Area Rova Quartet is expanded into an orchestra with an impressive set of improvisers in three works that balance compositional approaches with improvisation through conduction.
No Favorites! (for Lawrence "Butch" Morris)
Label: New World Records
Released in: USA
"No Favorites pays homage to one of the most original creators in improvised music, Lawrence 'Butch' Morris (1947-2013), inventor of Conduction, a method for organizing large-ensemble improvisation that he took to the world. The program represents a working relationship that Rova began with Morris in 1988 and also reflects parallel working processes reaching back to the mid-1970s. Rova do more than simply pay tribute. The quartet's members build on their own work in structured improvisation, incorporate other methods of organization -- from graphic scores to conventional notation -- and expand their palette from the saxophone quartet to include a string quartet and an electric power trio. Extending the possibilities of large-ensemble improvisation, the combined groups create music of both depth and an ever changing surface, the fruit of both intense commitment and a highly creative, heterodox methodology. Like previous Rova expansions, it achieves complex music that both requiresand rewards active listening. Each of the three extended pieces here includes a high degree of improvisation while embodying different compositional principles, the first and third (Nothing Stopped / But a Future and Contours of the Glass Head) employing conduction, the second graphic notation and simultaneity."-New World
• 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 John Shiurba
"John Shiurba is a composer and guitarist whose musical pursuits include improvisation, art-rock, modern composition and noise. Shiurba has recorded and toured the U.S. and Europe as a member of the bands Eskimo, The Molecules and Spezza Rotto, as a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Anthony Braxton's ensemble and the SFSound Group, and as an improvisor.
Shiurba has conducted the premieres of his compositions at ODC in 2005 ("Moon Cycle" for SFSound) at New Langton Arts in 2002 ("Triplicate") and at SFAlt in 2002 ("5x5 1.4" for SFSound). Shiurba was invited to play at the Seattle Improvised Music Festival in 1998, at the High Zero Festival in Baltimore in 1999, at the SFAlt Festival in 2004 and at the Olympia Experimental Music Festival in 2002 and 2004, and at the Push International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver in 2007.
As a guitarist Shiurba has developed a unique and personalized approach to the guitar. Through the use of extended techniques and unusual preparations, he expands the traditional sound range of the instrument, producing stunning, often unrecognizable results. Cadence Magazine calls Shiurba a 'wildly creative guitarist... anti-jazz, anti-everything else, yet utterly compelling.'"-John Shiurba Website (http://www.shiurba.com/bio.html)
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• Show Bio for Jordan Glenn
"Jordan Glenn is a drummer, percussionist, composer, band leader, conductor, video maker, and general craftsman who lives in Oakland, California.
Jordan Glenn spent his formative years in Oregon drawing cartoons, taking dance classes from his aunt, and putting on plays with his sisters. As he got older he began making movies with his friends and studying jazz, classical, and rock music. In 2003 Glenn received a bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Oregon.
In 2006 he relocated to the Bay Area, received a masters degree from Mills College and since has worked closely with Fred Frith (FF Trio and Gravity Band), William Winant, Zeena Parkins (The Adorables), Roscoe Mitchell, ROVA Sax Quartet, Ben Goldberg, Todd Sickafoose, John Schott, Dominique Leone, Aaron Novik, Darren Johnston, Aram Shelton, Cory Wright, Lisa Mezzacappa, Karl Evangelista, Michael Coleman, Matthew Welch, Rhys Chatham and the bands Jack O' The Clock, Arts & Sciences, Young Nudist, 20 Minute Loop, Beep!, tUnE-yArDs, and the Oakland Active Orchestra. He also leads and conducts the project Mindless Thing, a collaboration with poet/free-jazzer/sage Jim Ryan, as well as the long standing trio Wiener Kids and the ten piece expansion, The Wiener Kids Family Band."-Jordan Glenn Website (http://jordanglennmusic.com/)
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Label: New World Records
Catalog ID: NW 80782CD
Squidco Product Code: 22964
Recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkley, California on July 1st, 2015 by Adam Munoz.
Bruce Ackley-soprano saxophone
Steve Adams-alto saxophone
Larry Ochs-tenor saxophone
Jon Raskin-baritone saxophone
Scott Walton-acoustic bass
John Shiurba-electric guitar
Jason Hoopes-electric bass
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1. Nothing Stopped / But A Future (For Buckminster Fuller) 19:33
2. The Double Negative 13:11
3. Contours Of The Glass Head 27:37