Rova Saxophone Quartet
The Rova Saxophone Quartet is a San Francisco-based saxophone quartet formed in October 1977 at the same time as their "less adventurous" but better known colleagues the World Saxophone Quartet. The name "Rova" is an acronym formed from the last initials of the founding members: Jon Raskin, Larry Ochs, Andrew Voigt and Bruce Ackley.
Rova has become an important leader in the movement of genre-bending music that has its roots in post-bop free jazz, avant-rock, and 20th century new music as well as traditional and popular styles of Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States. While much of Rova's music is composed by its members, the group has also collaborated with and commissioned new works. Since its founding, Rova has released over two dozen recordings of original music.
In noting Rova's role in developing the all-saxophone ensemble as "a regular and conceptually wide-ranging unit," The Penguin Guide to Jazz calls its music "a teeming cosmos of saxophone sounds" created by "deliberately eschewing conventional notions about swing [and] prodding at the boundaries of sound and space..." Likewise Jazz: The Rough Guide notes, "Highly inventive, eclectic and willing to experiment, Rova [is] arguably the most exciting of the saxophone quartets to emerge in the format's late '70s boom."
They have collaborated with many musicians and composers, including Terry Riley (Chanting the Light of Foresight), Fred Frith (Freedom in Fragments), Annie Gosfield, John Zorn and Alvin Curran.
Henry Kaiser and Ochs together formed Metalanguage Records in 1978 which showcased Rova as well as many independent artists like Diamanda Galás as well as producing the Rova Arts Festival in 1980.