The Rova Special Sextet consists of the Rova Saxophone Quartet plus a pair of world‐class percussionists, performing one long set (or 2 sets) of music composed and/or arranged by Rova for this unique ensemble.
Originally conceived of by Larry Ochs, the first sextet concert took place in 2004 at a festival in Leipzig, Germany, with percussionists Paul Lytton and Raymond Strid. At this performance the band performed a long work by Larry Ochs that eventually became part 2 of “The Mirror World (for Stan Brakhage)”.
In 2005, the sextet repertoire was expanded to include pieces by Steve Adams, Jon Raskin, and John Coltrane; performances took place that year in San Francisco with percussionists William Winant and Gino Robair (at Rovaté 2005) and in Venice, Italy with percussionists Fabrizio Spera and Cristiano Calcagnile.
In 2006 a special sextet concert was produced in Tokyo with drummer Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins) and electronic percussionist Samm Bennett. In March 2007 Spera and Calcagnile were brought back for a festival in St. Johann‐in‐Tirol, Austria; and in October 2007 with drummers Vladimir Tarasov and Fritz Hauser at a festival in Vilnius, Lithuania. Then in 2008, two fantastic concerts occurred in Netherlands with drummers Michael Vatcher and Tony Buck.
After 7 years, the Special Sextet returned in 2015 for two performances: with drummers Scott Amendola and Gino Robair in Oakland, California; with Belgian drummers Jakob Warmenbol and Erik Heestermans in Antwerp, Belgium. And then in January 2016 in New York, Rova presented the Special Sextet repertoire with the amazing tandem of Tom Rainey and Michael Sarin.
The special sextet repertoire now consists of over 2 sets of music, most of which was composed or arranged especially for this sextet and is not performed in any of the other Rova configurations. It’s always exciting to reconvene this band, just so we can play the music again for a live audience, and we look forward to the next opportunity.
For over a quarter of a century, the Rova Saxophone Quartet has been acclaimed and widely recognized for its vital role in extending the horizons of today’s genre‐bending music. With its potent mix of compositional creativity and stellar musicianship, Rova explores the synthesis of composition and collective improvisation in ways that challenge, excite and inspire. Positioning itself in a dynamic musical nexus, Rova has become an important leader in the music movement that has its roots in post‐bop, free jazz, avant‐rock, and 20th century new music as well as drawing inspiration from traditional and popular styles of Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States.