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.