February 2007

International House3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $30 General Admission / $24 Members & Seniors / $22.50 Students
Sponsored by:
Saturday, February 10, 2007 - 8:00pm

Rova: Orkestrova = Electric Ascension

Bruce Ackley, soprano saxophone
Steve Adams, alto saxophone
Larry Ochs, tenor saxophone
Jon Raskin, baritone saxophone
Nels Cline, el. guitar
Jenny Scheinman, violin
Carla Kihlstedt, violin + efx
Andrea Parkins, el. accordion + laptop electronics
Marina Rosenfeld, turntables + dub plates
Trevor Dunn, el. bass
Andrew Cyrille, drums

"The idea is similar to what the action painters do in that it creates various surfaces of color which push into each other, creates tensions and counter tensions, and various fields of energy." -Archie Shepp, on Coltrane's Ascension

In 1965, shortly after receiving "Artist of the Year" and "Best Tenor Saxophonist" honors in Down Beat magazine, John Coltrane recorded his daring, monumental Ascension (Impulse Recordings)- the fifty-minute large ensemble piece that challenged audiences with passages of intense group improvisation and powerful solos. With dense harmonies and explosive dialogues between soloists and rhythm section, Ascension, is now widely regarded as Coltrane's masterwork.  Originally featuring some of the most important improvisers in jazz, such as Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones, Ascension was an ambitious and visionary statement unlike any other composition.  Now forty years old, Ascension is renowned among large ensemble jazz works for its monumental scale, raw emotional power, and historic importance to the evolution of improvised music.

Electric Ascension is a contemporary reworking of this profound piece led by the world-renowned Rova Saxophone Quartet who, since 1977, have fundamentally extended the horizons of modern jazz.  With their potent mix of stellar musicianship and compositional creativity, Rova explores the synthesis of composition and collective improvisation. The group has also collaborated with and commissioned over 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.  For there first official performance in Philadelphia, the are joined by some of the most exciting improvisors today, including Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, Fantomas/Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn, Tin Hat Trio's Carla Kihlstedt, and Free Jazz veteran Andrew Cyrille.

Ascension will be performed in its entirety arranged by Ochs and Raskin, with the latter as the "concert master."