Rova, with its inspired Orkestrova, engages Coltrane's uncompromising compositional attitude and boundaries, pushing with its own sense of informed and masterful improvisation. This marrying of great minds and souls is what makes Electric Ascension such a great triumph. This time Coltrane's music not only heats the nearby atmosphere but also chills out your mind.
Ochs’s long welcoming speech on (the Sax & Drumming Core piece) ‘Across from Over’ is one of the best available representations on record of his remarkable post-post-Coltrane style, an ironclad line that ripples with harmonic potential.
The Rova Saxophone Quartet … took its inspiration from the work of musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, and Roscoe Mitchell (and his Art Ensemble of Chicago), all of whom had worked with new compositional techniques and approaches to improvisation. From the outset, Rova flouted dogma, putting a premium on group interaction and eschewing the stultifying head-solo-head approach of most jazz. The group embraced the complexities of contemporary music-both composed and improvised-and found a way to seamlessly weave them together into a music that had the density and thorniness of Monk, the lushness of Ellington, and the angularity-and occasionally the austerity-of Webern. In Rova's hands, the twelve-bar blues came face to face with twelve-tone music.
I have never heard anything like it, and will remember it for the rest of my life.
Rova is arguably the most exciting of the saxophone quartets to emerge in the format’s late ‘70s boom.
This is Ascension's long-waited apotheosis and a masterpiece of the truest kind.