The Works, Vol. 2

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Many listeners may think of ROVA (comprised of Bruce Ackley on soprano and tenor, Jon Raskin on baritone and alto, Steve Adams on alto and sopranino and Larry Ochs on tenor and sopranino), the most advanced of the saxophone quartets, as playing free jazz, but much of their music on this CD is actually written out, tonal and occasionally rhythmic. The term "avant-garde" does fit as long as one keeps in mind that these very lengthy explorations of an original apiece by Tim Berne, Fred Ho and Jon Raskin ("Beyond" is the briefest at 16:56 while "Appearances" is one second shy of 31 minutes!) are to an extent planned in advance. The episodic music, which has intense individual statements, is at its most dynamic when all of the saxophonists are interpreting their parts; some of the highly expressive passages border on the miraculous, and in the case of "Appearances," are quite ferocious. Well worth several listens by more open-eared jazz listeners.

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