The Neighborhood Concert Hall
Since 1981, SF Live Arts at Cyprian’s (formerly Noe Valley Music Series) has earned a reputation as one of the most diverse and innovative music/performance series in the Bay Area.
The series has garnered praise for its programming of nationally and internationally known musicians (many who’ve won Grammys, Academy Awards, Mac Arthur “Genius” Grants and Guggenheim fellowships) and Bay Area performers of the highest quality. Founded by jazz flutist, Larry Kassin, SF Live Arts depends on grants and donations to bring their special blend of international and local musical talents to San Francisco.
ROVA SAXOPHONE QUARTET -A concert in remembrance of Marlene Aron
Rova Sax Quartet’s musical goal has always been, since 1978, to instigate, to challenge, and to inspire. The group explores the synthesis of composition and collective improvisation, creating exciting, genre-bending music. Rova is one of the longest-standing groups in the music movement that has its roots in post-bop, free jazz, avant-rock, and 20th century new music; often drawing inspiration from the visual arts.
Rova returns to the SF Live Arts series for the first time since fall 2017; the concert will feature several premieres, all composed by members of the band. Rova’s Bruce Ackley has been commissioned to create a work dedicated to longtime SF Live Arts assistant-director, community activist, friend and extraordinary artist, Marlene Aron.
“Rova is honored to be able to offer a benediction, a meditation in remembrance of friend and artist Marlene Aron. Our connection to Marlene stretches back some decades to the old Noe Valley Ministry series at the church on Sanchez, where she assisted with shows and was always deeply engaged with Rova’s programs there.” Provisionally titled Woven, the work centers around two of Aron’s most powerful works: Weep at the Beauty of her Stones and Ground, the Brown Earth Accepts Everything: Forest Prayer, and Woven in Time, Woven in Time, We Become—both paintings from 2016. The two works are circular, and are constructed with a filigree of natural elements, along with traditional media, and each is embedded in square-format frames.
Ackley’s work imagines the equal-sided shape corresponding to Rova’s 4 voices, and the detailed texture of the paintings’ surfaces, and their colors, informing the variegated quality of the sounds the quartet will create.
The work will employ a blend of composed and improvised elements, Rova’s stock in trade. Like the freedom and play central to her two deeply moving works, composing and planning is intended to create a space for improvisation to dwell.
Rova looks forward to premiering Wovenin the beautifully sympathetic space of St. Cyprian’s Church.
Thanks to support from The East Bay Foundation, Hilary Perkins and Jim Nunnally for making this concert and commission possible.
The First Time Together! Two of the Bay Area’s Top Touring Duos
THE AKI KUMAR & JON LAWTON DUO
MOKAI with JAMES NASH
Jon Lawton has been playing guitar for over 45 years. Starting out on acoustic guitar in the ’70’s meant folkie things like CSNY, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. But then he began to chase the blues shuffle and never stopped. Little Jonny is an accomplished songwriter and guitarist and can fingerpick old-time blues, frail a little banjo and slide some dobro.
Jonny’s swingin’, resonant guitar work is the perfect compliment to Aki’s soulful harp playing, and together the musical chemistry of these two artists makes for a show not to be missed
MOKAI with JAMES NASH
Solo, Mokai and James Nash comprise the Americana-leaning Best of the West when it comes to folk/blues singer songwriting troubadours. Put them together and the formidable duo achieves a whole other musical level.
Mokai is a longtime veteran of the homespun Bay Area music scene. He merges deft finger-style guitar with heart-on-your-sleeve, earthy approach to his often blues inflected originals and covers. He’s amassed scores of fans after three decades of appearances at house concerts, coffee houses and concert stages.
James Nash is hailed as one of California’s best instrumentalists and vocalists thanks to his work with the Waybacks and many other projects. Guitar Player magazine listed him among its 50 most Transcendent Acoustic Guitarists. Nash turns up as producer and multi-instrumentalist on Mokai’s acclaimed new recording, The Jaybird Said.
When Mokai joins forces with James Nash, it is a case of the whole totaling more than the sum of the parts. Two talents mesh and spur each other to greater heights. Mokai’s slightly gruff, soulful voice buoyed by James Nash’s high, expressive harmony creates a sound you don’t want to miss.