Rova Saxophone Quartet Profiled Ahead of Pittsburgh Performance

Source: Pittsburgh Current.

Larry Ochs, the tenor saxophonist in the Rova Saxophone Quartet, says the group’s baritone man, Jon Raskin, once opined that the group should release an album called The Happy Few. “Because the few who do actually come [to see us] are really happy they came,” Ochs says. “We really should use that at some point.”

That comment might imply Rova is searching for an audience, but the Bay Area quartet has won admirers around the world over the past 42 adventurous years. That includes listeners in the Soviet Union, which Rova first toured in 1983, the first American new music ensemble to make such a journey. (Their travels were filmed for a PBS documentary at the time.) In addition to a wealth of original material, the group has embarked on ambitious projects like Electric Ascension, a reimagining of John Coltrane’s tumultuous “Ascension,” which Rova performed with a 13-piece group of A-list improvisers that included guitars and electronics along with horns.