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Rova Saxophone Quartet

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The San Francisco-based Rova Saxophone Quartet was the alternative, experimental alter-ego of the more famous World Saxophone Quartet. Formed in 1977 by Jon Raskin (1954), Larry Ochs (1949), Andrew Voigt and Bruce Ackley, on respectively baritone, tenor, alto and soprano saxophone it straddled the border between free jazz and classical music of the 20th century. Raskin had already founded several multimedia projects and worked with composer John Adams. Their first concert became also their first album, Cinema Rovate’ (august 1978), highlighted by Raskin’s chaotic and cacophonous 21-minute Ride Upon the Belly of the Waters After The Bay (december 1978) with Italian percussionist Andrea Centazzo, the noise strategy of the group was perfected on The Removal of Secrecy (february 1979), particularly Ochs’ 19-minute That’s How Strong. There was method in their madness, but it was not easily detected within the dense structures of their scores. After Daredevils (february 1979) with guitarist Henry Kaiser, and the transitional This This This This (august 1979), with Raskin’s eleven-minute Flamingo Horizons, Invisible Frames (october 1981) boasted another peak of their expressionist art, Voigt’s 22-minute Narrow Are the Vessels. Ochs’ 19-minute Paint Another Take of the Shootpop, off As Was (april 1981), was dedicated to both classical composer Olivier Messiaen and soul vocalist Otis Redding.

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