Rova + 1 & 2: The quartet is presenting a series of two 2-set concerts this spring that will feature the four horn players PLUS one guest per set. Jon Raskin is partnering with Aram Shelton, and Bruce Ackley with Gino Robair, for the first concert on April 22.
Saxophonist/composer/band leader Shelton is bringing new works to be performed by saxophone quintet. Instigator Robair will join Rova for small group and ensemble improvisations.
In the summer of 2013, Shelton visited the Canyonlands region of southeastern Utah. He was enthralled by the geography and its wide open, slowly changing landscape, interspersed by geological features both unique and memorable. Inspired by the landscape and his experiences, Shelton composed a set of non-linear, improvisation-centric scores by repurposing trail maps of the Canyonlands National Park as the basis for a graphic score, and created game piece rules influenced by the act of hiking.
Shelton joins ROVA to perform two of the scores inspired by Canyonlands: "Island in the Sky", and "The Needles". The music uses long sustained sounds to invoke the wide vistas of the landscape, and register extremes to parallel the temperature differences between day and night. The compositions are not meant to be played in a linear way, instead performers cue the ensemble to move towards a destination (a trail intersection) where lies a musical micro-composition. Each player chooses their own route to the cued destination and the graphic elements dictate improvisational emphasis: rhythm, texture, melody. The end result of the music is dependent on the improvising style and real time musical choices of the performers, while there are enough specific musical motifs that ensure a consistency between performances.