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The Enumeration (for Glenn Spearman)

from The Circumference of Reason 10​/​2021 by Rova Saxophone Quartet

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Framed by the cover's beautiful artwork, created by the poet Lyn Hejinian, this CD has music playing to many moods and concepts.

    December 2021 Downbeat Review by Josef Woodard:

    After 40-plus years in action, the ROVA
    Saxophone Quartet has mastered and reinvent-
    ed the sound of four varied saxophones work-
    ing together, individually and toward some “X”
    factor collective voice. That unique legacy gains
    further proof of vision and forward motion on
    its new project on ESP.

    Covering a range of tools in the saxophonic
    toolbox/palette, the combined forces of Bruce
    Ackley, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs and Jon
    Raskin offer up six tracks, bristling with the
    characteristic mesh of free play (often group
    improvisation versus soloing) and taut struc-
    tural passages. Additional saxophonic refer-
    ence comes in the form of homages to the late
    Glenn Spearman (who shared with ROVA
    a San Francisco Bay Area grounding). An
    Ochs-arranged version of Spearman’s “The
    Extrapolation” opens the album, which
    closes with Adams’ muscular elegy “The
    Enumeration,” dedicated to Spearman.
    Keeping options and concepts open and
    subject to change is a long-running ROVA
    mandate, as evidenced here by two very differ-
    ent versions of the tune “NC 17,” by turns atmo-
    spheric and antic.

    While essentially operating under the aegis
    of jazz, nebulous though that moniker can be,
    ROVA incorporates aspects of modernist har-
    mony and rhythm — shades of Messiaen,
    Bartók and unraveled Ravel, for instance —
    and swing-free minimalist kinetics, remind-
    ing us of the saxophone’s original intention as a
    “classical” instrument (an intention that never
    fully came to fruition). Here, “Xenophobia” and
    the title track, “The Circumference Of Reason,”
    assert chamber-like frameworks, interlaced
    with solo outings.

    In all, Circumference teems with the stuff
    that makes ROVA an important institution,
    including locomotion, abstraction and a partic-
    ular avant-reedy glory of its own devising.
    —Josef Woodard

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Circumference of Reason 10/2021 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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written for Larry Ochs to play on tenor at a time when cataract surgery made it virtually impossible for him to read music. Thus he is featured improvising, while channeling the spirit of the late great Glenn Spearman. (Plenty of improvising from the other players as well.)


from The Circumference of Reason 10​/​2021, released October 15, 2021


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Rova Saxophone Quartet San Francisco, California

Rova: a group that can move you the way an Eastern European choir of voices can move you, but also a group with force that can feel as if its tearing the walls of the listening space down, or one of nature’s wild phenomena, or conversely, the almost-silent overlapping sound-patterns heard with eyes closed in a field in the wilderness. Since 1978, dealing it, and surprising listeners worldwide. ... more

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