Larry Ochs’ interview with Luca Canini

Some years ago, when I first listened to “Electric Ascension”, I was shocked by the intensity and power of the performance: past/future, tradition/innovation. That disc and the few concerts around the world are a deep reflection on jazz, history, improvisation, sound. But everything started back in 1995, when Rova decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of John Coltrane’s masterpiece. Can you tell me something about the birth of the project? How do you decide to approach such a “problematic” piece Read more..

Going Deep into the Outside — Saxist Larry Ochs makes a rare visit to Santa Barbara

As a finale in this altogether bracing set, the finest set I happened to catch in the New Music Series' history, what Mr. Ochs called "a piece for Muddy Waters" was built on scattered gestures and overtones, gusting sounds, and tones bleeding through the horn, while Mr. Robinson's drums dealt eloquent cathartic bliss. Read more..

The Jazz Police Incident at Siguenza Jazz Festival (Spain)

I think the only way to get at all of this is to relate the story from my perspective; my version of the truth. I think many of you reading this story will learn about the facts behind the fiction and the fiction behind the facts. There are no “great truths” to be learned, but …well… back to this philosophy later…. Read more..

Interview Outtakes, MinnPost, Minneapolis

It’s not an easy time to be out running around. I feel privileged to be touring and playing music live, which for me is what it’s all about. As [Anthony] Braxton says: ‘play or die’…. There aren’t as many venues as there used to be. In the jazz world, of which I’m debatably a part, some 50 years ago there were clubs in every town, every little town, places where people could play. They didn’t used to have to travel very far. That’s how improvised music grew. That kind of music really needs to be played live. Read more..

Spanish Interview in ORO MOLIDO

Very late, relative to most musicians I know or read about in other interviews or biographies. And I have to say: even now I consider myself an artist whose brush is the saxophone, or a quartet of them in the case of Rova, or whose saxophone is part of a palette of sounds in any other band I compose for…In other words, I’m still not so sure I’m a musician in any standard sense of that term. But being an artist: that really wasn’t something I thought I would be interested in (or capable of!) until at the earliest, the age of 22. Read more..

Paris Transatlantic Interview

For more than three decades Larry Ochs has been a key figure in the Bay Area experimental music scene, having worked with bands such as the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Maybe Monday, Room, What We Live, and the Glenn Spearman Double Trio. This interview was conducted at his home in Berkeley, California, a day before he was to perform with the Rova/Nels Cline Celestial Septet at Yoshi's San Francisco. Larry had been working on some Albert Ayler-inspired compositions, but took time out to speak to me while his wife, poet and academic Lyn Hejinian Read more..

An AllAboutJazz.com Interview

How different might our planet be if a number of significant events over the past century had NOT happened? What if the Kennedys and Dr. King had NOT been assassinated? What if nuclear weaponry had NOT been invented? What if the stock market had NOT crashed in Oct. 1929? From a musical perspective, what if John Lennon had never met Paul McCartney? What if electric and electronic instruments had not become economically viable? What if Charlie Parker had not died but had instead lived to become a student of Edgard Varèse? Read more..

Commendation Quotes

Rova, with its inspired Orkestrova, engages Coltrane's uncompromising compositional attitude and boundaries, pushing with its own sense of informed and masterful improvisation. This marrying of great minds and souls is what makes Electric Ascension such a great triumph. This time Coltrane's music not only heats the nearby atmosphere but also chills out your mind.

— Allaboutjazz.com
In the end we hear great things, the art of three excellent improvisors forming a synergy that ranks with some of the best such outings in recent years. It is fascinating and ever-moving. This is real-deal freedom! Read more..
— Greg Applegate Edwards, blog

Ochs’s long welcoming speech on (the Sax & Drumming Core piece) ‘Across from Over’ is one of the best available representations on record of his remarkable post-post-Coltrane style, an ironclad line that ripples with harmonic potential.

— The Penguin Jazz Guide
As a finale in this altogether bracing set, the finest set I happened to catch in the New Music Series' history, what Mr. Ochs called "a piece for Muddy Waters" was built on scattered gestures and overtones, gusting sounds, and tones bleeding through the horn, while Mr. Robinson's drums dealt eloquent cathartic bliss. Read more..
— Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara News-Press

The Rova Saxophone Quartet … took its inspiration from the work of musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, and Roscoe Mitchell (and his Art Ensemble of Chicago), all of whom had worked with new compositional techniques and approaches to improvisation. From the outset, Rova flouted dogma, putting a premium on group interaction and eschewing the stultifying head-solo-head approach of most jazz. The group embraced the complexities of contemporary music-both composed and improvised-and found a way to seamlessly weave them together into a music that had the density and thorniness of Monk, the lushness of Ellington, and the angularity-and occasionally the austerity-of Webern. In Rova's hands, the twelve-bar blues came face to face with twelve-tone music.

— Paul Bennett, Hedges and Shambles

I have never heard anything like it, and will remember it for the rest of my life.

— Jambase.com

Rova is arguably the most exciting of the saxophone quartets to emerge in the format’s late ‘70s boom.

— Jazz: The Rough Guide

This is Ascension's long-waited apotheosis and a masterpiece of the truest kind.

— The Wire