ROVA NEWS – October 2008
In this Newsletter:» Upcoming Shows
» Ochs' Sax & Drumming Core Tour
» Favorite Street: Larry Ochs' Seminal Influences
» Improv:21 on RadiOM
» San Francisco Jazz Festival
Rova hits the stage early this month on the heels of a great weekend in the recording studio in September. And, in the spirit of this election season, Rova will participate in Tom Djll's Mockracy. Improvisers Charlotte Hugg and Evan Parker will be in the Bay Area from Europe, and SFJazz has some must see shows for their 26th annual fall festival running over the next two months. Check it all out below.
Friday, October 3, 8:00
Rova Eye Music for Ears, Part 3
The Berkeley Hillside Club
2286 Cedar Street
Info: (510) 845-1350
Admission $15 ($10 for HSC members and Seniors)
The concert will focus on recently recorded Raskin and Adams pieces composed using graphic notation—compositional systems that employ images and symbols outside traditional music notation to convey the composer's intentions. Including a good measure of the graphically notated pieces along with other Rova originals, the quartet performance will explore fresh methods to mine the fertile ground of improvised music, finding new correspondences between composed and open forms. The Berkeley Hillside Club offers a rare opportunity to hear Rova in an optimal acoustic environment.
Saturday, October 4, 9:00 PM
Saturday, October 11, 8:00 PM
Sunday, Oct 12, 8:00 PM
Local percussionist Gino Robair performs Potluck Percussion (You bring it, he'll play it - Guaranteed!) and presents a realization of his improv-opera I, Norton with sfSound augmented by laptops and voices. The program also includes two giant works from the 1980's: Gérard Grisey'sTalea (1986) and the U.S. premiere of Mathias Spahlinger's Aussageverweigerung / Gegendarstellung: Zwei Kontra-Kontexte für Doppelquartett (1981), in addition to the premiere of a new work written for sfSound by local composer Erik Ulman.
Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19, 8:00 pm
John Duykers Dean Santomieri
Oakland Metro Theater
Mockracy is the musical satire event of the season!
Sunday, October 26, 2:30 PM
Charlotte Hug in the Bay Area
Charlotte Hug is a musician (voice and viola), composer, and visual artist living in Zurich and London.She is a member of the London Improvisers Orchestra and collaborates with other composers as well as with the Swiss Centre for Computer Musik. She improvises, both freely and conceptually, with such performers as John Butcher, John Edwards, Phil Minton, Evan Parker and Elliott Sharp. In May 2009 she will appear as part of Rovaté 09.
For now, check out the following shows:
Friday, October 3, 7:30 PM
EVENT IS FREE - REGISTRATION MANDATORY via SWISSNEX'S WEBSITE: [register here]
Saturday, October 4, 8:00 PM
Inspired by the Myanmar (Burmese) anti-government protests led by students and Buddhist Monks in September 2007, Sonic Forecast integrates new and traditional performance practice in a seamless tapestry of timbres, resonance and spontaneous response between live musician, pre-recorded viola and manipulations, live video and stocked images.
Charlotte Hug viola & voice
Sunday, October 5th, 3:00 PM
Ms. Hug will discuss her work in an informal talk, including her site-specific musical performances and compositions, graphic scores and room-scores, with a special focus on enhanced string techniques.
October 12 to November 22
Ochs' Sax & Drumming Core Tour
Larry Ochs' Sax & Drumming Core
Featuring Scott Amendola and Don Robinson, Drums
with special guests:
Satoki Fujii (piano and synthesizer) & Natsuki Tamura (trumpet)
October 28: Los Angeles
The Hammer Museum
7 PM (one set)
October 30: Albuquerque
Outpost Performance Space
November 1: Seattle
Seattle Art Museum
Produced by EARSHOT JAZZ FESTIVAL
October 29: San Diego
October 31: Denver
First Unitarian Church of Denver
Produced by Creative Music Works
November 2: Vancouver, BC
The Western Front
Produced by Coastal Jazz
Sorry: No San Francisco date.
Larry Ochs & the Drumming Core
Favorite Street: Larry Ochs
I got tipped off during the summer by an excited comrade that Mosaic Records was collecting all of composer Anthony Braxton's records for Arista Records, made in the 1970's, into one CD Box-Set for release in October; folks: that's now! www.mosaicrecords.com. The news came at an interesting moment: I was poring over the DVD extras of Julie Taymor's most recent film work – Across the Universe. That's Taymor's film-musical dedicated to the music of the Beatles. And I was musing over the fact that the Beatles were, much to my surprise, a key influence, if not on my personal work, at least on my outlook on life; frankly that did surprise me. So on this take of Favorite Street, I'm going to direct you towards some media that can give you some insight into influences from the sixties and seventies upon my own and Rova's work, past and present, my own playing/thinking, and the creative process in general.
Here's what I'm recommending to all of you with all your free time:
1. CD: Wadada Leo Smith: Kabell Years 1971-1979
2. CD: The Complete Arista Recordings Of Anthony Braxton (8CDs).
3. CD: The Art Ensemble of Chicago: Baptizum // People in Sorrow // Les Stance et Sophie
4. CD: Steve Lacy: Scratching the Seventies
5. DVD: Julie Taymor's film: Across the Universe
6, CD: Cecil Taylor: Dark to Themselves and Conquistador
7. Online reading: Synergetics by Buckminster Fuller
8. finally: DVD: Musician, featuring Ken Vandermark
Braxton, Lacy, and Mitchell
The Art Ensemble of Chicago
Julie Taymor: Across the Universe
Buying the DVD in this case was kind of a revelation. Being in a movie theater with the big screen in the dark will always be my favorite way to see film, but the DVD medium has many positive aspects to it. First of all, after you watch a film all the way through the first time, then after that it's absolutely fantastic to see it in small increments. The best movies are like books. Too much detail going by for one sitting, at least in serious concentration. Across the Universe is not a really deep film in most ways. But one thing really comes across on DVD: Taymor has really captured the spirit of the '60s, especially the 60's on the East Coast. Now the storyline almost doesn't matter in this film; it is after all a musical. But the underlying tone of the film is a direct hit throughout and really very moving. The combination of the Beatle's naïve optimism and the true (and frightening) uncertainty of the times were captured incredibly well by the Beatle's lyrics and music, at least as framed by the film. So I'm not sure which came first, the music or the frame, but in the end I was very moved, and if you lived through those days, I think you will be too. In any case there are minutes throughout out the film of breathtaking editing or montage that are worth sitting through all the rest of the film. But "the rest" is all music, and fantastically done for the most part.
The DVD extras are fantastic. Taymor does the commentary herself, and for once a director takes the job seriously and really gives you a lot of information about how she thinks and works. There are also some well-done docs on the choreography in the film, and in the end I learned a lot about making movies. Finally the out-takes of the music scenes are worth the cost of the DVD by themselves; perhaps my favorite was the out-takes segment of Eddie Izzard doing his Mr. Kite scene. He's improvising the vocalise as he goes along... "structured improvisation" (of a kind) at its best. Watching his raw takes, and then going back to the film to see the finished product: illuminating...
The only person from the sixties more wildly optimistic than the Beatles or Anthony Braxton was Buckminster Fuller. Fuller (1895 – 1983) was just the subject of a major retrospective at The Whitney Museum in NYC. But he wasn't an artist per se. He "was an architect, engineer, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome," and inspirer of many, including Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth Catalogue; simply a brilliant creative mind. When I first moved to California, I lived for a few years in the wilderness of Mendocino County; we built a cabin, but there were geodesic domes on that same property, purchased through that very Whole Earth Catalogue. And the geodesic dome was Fuller's idea... His philosophy was at that time quite in contrast to how many of us felt, how many of us saw the USA and the world. He went from university to university at that time speaking to thousands of people at a time in 4-hour monologues about "Spaceship Earth." He felt at the most basic level that governments preached scarcity in order to divide, when in fact there was (and continues to be) more than enough for everyone to be comfortable on the planet. He tried to come up with innovative designs that would do more with less.
I've been thinking about Fuller a lot in the past 2 years, trying to draw from the spirit of Fuller's overall outlook in designing a process for the next Rova collaboration: Rovaté 2009 (May 22 and 23, 2009 to take place at Kanbar Hall at Jewish Community Center San Francisco). Rova will collaborate with some great musical improvisers as well as the media and digital-animation artist Lillevan, a true innovator from Berlin, Germany, who enjoys creating film works "spontaneously," much as Rova creates music. His film-making includes improvisation, using images and found footage he has compiled for the specific project. So, my mentioning Fuller also acts as a heads up for these May San Francisco performances. More on those shows in one of the next newsletters. For now: you can go online to read Synergetics rwgrayprojects.com and take a long look around at all the writing in a book long out of print. Some of Fuller's books like Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth are being reprinted now. But I think this one, read in small doses, casts up a lot of food for thought.
RadiOM – Improv:21 series archived online
Thanks to recent support from the Zellerbach Family Fund, Improv:21 will resume in early 2009. Presented by Rova:Arts and curated by Larry Ochs, this series of interviews, or 'informances', has offered Bay Area audiences intimate views into the creative lives of almost 2 dozen innovative artist over the past 5 years. Our next newsletter should have the rundown of who's coming up in the series.
Want to sample some of the earlier Improv:21 informances?
To get news from Other Minds [click here] .[TOP]
October 3 – November 9
This year's San Francisco Jazz Festival digs into the experimental side of jazz with four unique shows. First, a rare U.S. appearance by tenor saxophone firebrand Archie Shepp, on October 23. Cecil Taylor plays a solo Sacred Space concert at Grace Cathedral October 24. Later that same weekend (October 26) is a solo performance by pianist Marilyn Crispell at the intimate Gould Theatre. Wayne Horvitz's genre-collapsing Gravitas Quartet will close out the Festival in the same room November 9. The Festival runs from October 3-November 9. Tickets are available now at sfjazz.org or 866-920-JAZZ (5299).
Contribute to Rova:Arts
Formed in 1977, Rova's been in a state of continual artistic renewal for over 3 decades. Rova:Arts, formed in 1986 to support the activities of Rova, has been instrumental in producing local projects and advancing an ongoing cultural exchange between local Bay Area artists and the international scene through its Rovaté concert series. These events, made possible by funding to Rova:Arts, have engaged Bay Area musicians and composers as well as musicians from around the world. Rova:Arts projects often are reproduced in other parts of the world, thereby bringing the work to a broader audience. Also, many Rova:Arts events have been recorded and enthusiastically celebrated.
Rova:Arts has produced the Improv:21 series, providing a forum for innovative musicians like John Zorn, Fred Frith, Oliver Lake, Miya Masaoka, Roscoe Mitchell, Zeena Parkins and others to share their artistic visions and unique paths to creativity, with you the audience, in an intimate setting.
[Click here] to find out more and to Join Rova:Arts. Thanks for being part of the art.[TOP]
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