Cecil Taylor at work with many of his resources (courtesy of Rova:Arts)
This site has done its best to keep up with performances in San Francisco that involve the members of the Rova Saxophone Quartet: Bruce Ackley, Larry Ochs, Steve Adams, and Jon Raskin. However, readers may not know about Rova:Arts, which is the ensemble’s administrative arm. Its primary responsibility involves arranging performances; but it has also enabled the commissioning of more than 30 new works for saxophone quartet from artists as aesthetically diverse as minimalist composers Terry Riley and Pauline Oliveros, avant-garde composers Fred Frith and Anthony Braxton, experimental rock musician Lindsay Cooper, and jazz luminaries Jack DeJohnette and John Carter.
Next month Rova:Arts will produce Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly!, a special tribute concert in honor of the avant-garde jazz composer, pianist, and poet Cecil Taylor, who died on April 5 of last year. Last year Rova presented their first tribute to Taylor, a concert entitled Air. Next month’s affair will be more extensive and involve many more performers.
Rova’s primary contribution will be a reworking of Taylor’s Dark to Themselves, an album-length composition. For this endeavor they will be joined by four additional players, guitarists Jean-Paul Bourelly and Henry Kaiser, drummer Dan Robinson, and Jason Hoopes on bass. Rova has expanded its resources in the past, and these enlarged groups have performed under the name Orkestrova. In addition the duo B. combo of Lisa Mezzacappa on bass and Jason Levis on percussion will present excerpts from Mezzacappa’s transcription of Taylor’s album Air Above Mountains. The program will then conclude with a second duo performance, coupling reed player Oluyemi with vocalist Ijeoma Thomas. They will present interpretations of Taylor’s poetry, as well as original works.
This tribute concert will be given only one performance, beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. The venue will be CounterPulse, which is located near Union Square at 80 Turk Street, just West of where Mason Street intersects Market Street. General admission will be $20, and students and seniors will be admitted for $15. There is also a special Patron of the Arts rate of $35. Tickets may be purchased online through the CounterPulse Secure Ticket Portal, and the Box Office will open at 7:15 p.m.