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
AKI KUMAR & JON LAWTON
MOKAI with JAMES NASH. Who is Aki Kumar and why is everyone talking about him? Aki Kumar came to the US to become the next Bill Gates. Then he got bit by the blues bug. Say goodbye to Bill Gates and hello to Big Bill Broonzy and Jimmy Reed. With his Silicon Valley career now in the review, Aki Kumar is rapidly becoming a recognized master of the amplified Chicago blues harp.
He is joined by musical cohort, Jon Lawton, who with 45 year of blues guitar experience provides resonant, swinging accompaniment to Aki’s soulful harp playing.
Together the two have been thrilling audiences at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, San Jose Jazz Summerfest, the SF Free Folk Festival and all over the Bay Area with their passionate, driving take on the classic American blues tradition.
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.