Larry Ochs’ Sax & Drumming Core may not be al gusto for everyone, but should Spain’s Civil Guard decide whether it plays “jazz”? At the Sigüenza Jazz Festival a disgruntled purist demanded his ticket money back claiming he was subjected to “contemporary music” rather than jazz fitting his definition; pistol-packing cops backed him up (which makes me wonder what they thought of last week’s concert by Digital Primitives). Read the Guardian account here.
Ochs is, for those who don’t know, a founding member of the estimable East Bay-based ROVA Saxophone Quartet. Stone Shift, his Sax & Drumming Core’s recent release from the French label RogueArt features his alternately garrulous and tender extended-technique tenor and sopranino improvisations on four somewhat open form compositions with post-Coltrane harmonic extrapolations, engaged collaboration from Satoko Fujii on piano and synth, Natsuki Tamura on trumpet and drummers Scott Amendola and Donald Robinson. Most of the recording is live from a 2007 concert at Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, Venice. No reports have surfaced about gondoliers or anyone else protesting either the newness or jazziness of that performance. Word: jazz and “new music” are one and the same. Purists beware!