Rova: Bruce Ackley; soprano sax; Steve Adams, alto sax; Larry Ochs, tenor sax; Jon Raskin, baritone sax
Tara Flandreau, viola; Christina Stanley, violin; Alex Kelly, cello; Scott Walton, acoustic bass; John Shiurba, electric guitar; Jason Hoopes, electric bass; Jordan Glenn, drums; Gino Robair, conduction (on Nothing Stopped / But A Future)
No Favorites pays homage to one of the most original creators in improvised music, Lawrence "Butch" Morris (1947-2013), inventor of Conduction, a method for organizing large-ensemble improvisation that he took to the world. The program represents a working relationship that Rova began with Morris in 1988 and also reflects parallel working processes reaching back to the mid-1970s.
Rova do more than simply pay tribute. The quartet's members build on their own work in structured improvisation, incorporate other methods of organization－from graphic scores to conventional notation－and expand their palette from the saxophone quartet to include a string quartet and an electric power trio.
Extending the possibilities of large-ensemble improvisation, the combined groups create music of both depth and an ever changing surface, the fruit of both intense commitment and a highly creative, heterodox methodology. Like previous Rova expansions, it achieves complex music that both requires and rewards active listening.
Each of the three extended pieces here includes a high degree of improvisation while embodying different compositional principles, the first and third (Nothing Stopped / But a Future and Contours of the Glass Head) employing conduction, the second graphic notation and simultaneity.