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ROVA: The Works (Volume 2)

Rova continues to prove to be the most viable saxophone ensemble on the contemporary scene with the remarkable, The Works (Volume 2). Interpreting three extended “beyond category” compositions by Tim Berne, Fred Ho and Rova member Jon Raskin, the ensemble addresses these extremely composed, richly textured pieces with great conviction and authority. Brimming with bracing intimacy, edgy verve, and improvisational wit, this recording is a telling celebration of structured avant garde at some of its most persuasive moments.

With its danceable riffs, colorful harmonic palette and suspenseful dynamics, Berne’s “The Visible Man” echoes the passionate elaborations of Julius Hemphill, especially during Larry Ochs’ sumptuous closing tenor solo. Ho’s four-movement suite “Beyond Columbus And Capitalism” is the set’s most structured offering which keenly fuses the influences of Ellington, Mingus and Roach into Asian sensibilities. Raskin’s herculean “Appearances Aren’t Always What They Seem” is by far the most stirring feature which jam-packed is with beautiful contour lines, pensive melodies, turbulent group improvisation. The Works (Volume 2) is a welcome addition to Rova’s compelling discography.

Originally Published