Larry Ochs, reeds
Donald Robinson, drums
Per Bay Improviser, a crucial site for tracking avant garde music in the Bay Area (found at, no surprise, bayimproviser.com):
Larry Ochs works on and breathes music. He composes. He plays saxophone. He looks for adventurous ideas to take on and for other artists – musicians and friends in other art mediums – to take them on with him.
Ochs is primarily found in the worlds of â€œavant-gardeâ€ or â€œimprovised music.â€ That means that he composes music for â€œstructured improvisationâ€ in general, and in particular for musicians steeped in the art of improvisation, an art form that has really only come into its own in the past 50 years in Western music, primarily thanks to the development of jazz as influenced by the blues and then Western art music, as well as to the increased exposure of Western musicians to the music of Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. But any artists in the visual arts or other performance-based arts that have an interest in taking chances are welcomed in. Thus, for example, he has worked recently with Shinichi Iova Koga and his dance group inkBoat; he is at the beginning of a relationship with We Players, a very cool theater company in the Bay Area, and is into ongoing work with Korean performance artist and vocalist Dohee Lee.
Since 1978, Ochs’s professional activities have been primarily centered around the Rova Saxophone Quartet, which has made over thirty-five European tours plus numerous concerts throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as recording over 30 CDs/LPs as a quartet and/or in collaboration with other artists. Ochs has created roughly two dozen compositions for saxophone quartet as well as other pieces for Rova when working within larger ensembles, many of which are recorded, and some of which were commissioned by Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation and Meet the Composer. He has been acting executive director of Rova:Arts since 1988.Â Â In addition. Ochs currently composes for and leads Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core with Scott Amendola, Don Robinson, Satoko Fujii, and Natsuki Tamura (“Stone Shift”- 2009 CD) and Kihnoua with vocalist Dohee Lee, Scott Amendola and special guests (“The Sybilâ€™s Whisper”- 2012 CD). He is performing in and composing for more â€œcollectiveâ€ bands such as: East-West Collective – with Didier Petit, Sylvain Kassap, Miya Masaoka, Xu Fengxia (“Humeurs” – 2014 CD); Ochs-Robinson Duo with drummer Don Robinson; Jones Jones – with Mark Dresser and Vladimir Tarasov (“We All Feel the Same Way”- 2010 CD); Maybe Monday – with Miya Masaoka and Fred Frith (Unsquare -2008 CD); Shelton-Ochs Quartet with Aram Shelton, Kjell Nordeson and Mark Dresser; Trio Dave Rempis- Darren Johnston- Larry Ochs (â€œSpectralâ€œ- 2014 CD).
Described as a ‘percussive dervish’ (Coda), Donald Robinson is a technical master of the drums. He is a stalwart of the of San Francisco bay area avant-garde jazz scene, playing and recording with many of the area’s improvisational players, from saxophonists John Tchicai, Marco Eneidi and Larry Ochs to koto player Miya Masaoka and pianist Matthew Goodheart, and with prominent visitors like Cecil Taylor, Wadada Leo Smith, George Lewis, trumpeter Raphe Malik and Canadian pianist Paul Plimley. Much of this work has featured the combination of Robinson and bassist Lisle Ellis as rhythm section: ‘the best bass-drums tag team on the scene’ (Jazz Times). His longest musical association, dating from the 1970’s, was with the late tenor saxophonist Glenn Spearman.
Born is Boston, Massachusetts in 1953, Robinson first studied classical percussion at the New England Conservatory. During the early 1970’s he served his musical apprenticeship in the jazz world of Paris, studying with Kenny Clarke and playing with Alan Silva, Anthony Braxton, Oliver Lake and Bobby Few among many others. He first played with Spearman as a duet partner during this period in Paris, an association which continued through various configurations and many recordings until the saxophonist’s death in 1998.
Robinson is currently playing in many configurations with a broad range of musicians throughout Europe and the US.
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
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Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site