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Wednesday, Sep 10 1997
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"Improvise a Picnic" with Rova Saxophone Quartet
Explorative jazz improvisers (and their fans) seem like nonparticipants in the greater cultural community. They don't pretend to be hip by catering to the mass-marketed tastes du jour, and they don't sport the latest Details fashions. In short, creative musicians go their own way. That's why the concept of freedom is almost synonymous with this type of music-making. Freedom of choice. Freedom of expression. Freedom of identity. To be exactly, honestly, who you are -- with imagination, brilliance, and shortcomings in full view.

As trailblazers of structured improvisation, Rova Saxophone Quartet have been a vital link in the evolution of American new music for the past two decades. Their collaborations with master experimentalists like Terry Riley and Alvin Curran, interpretations of works by Steve Lacy, Tim Berne, and John Carter, and a number of heady original projects paint a striking composite of the Bay Area iconoclasts. But standing apart from the status quo doesn't mean that Rova have relinquished a sense of community.

To kick off a yearlong celebration of their 20th season, Rova are hosting an informal, "improvised picnic" on Mount Tamalpais (i.e., bring your own food, drink, kids, whatever). In addition to Rova, trumpeter Leo Smith, one of the original members of the AACM and an early proponent of silence as an essential ingredient in music, and Masopust, a young trio of postmodern minstrels with a passion for Old World Europe, will also perform. Come witness the power of the individual within a casual, cooperative setting. Now, what's more hip than that?

-- Sam Prestianni

Rova Saxophone Quartet, Leo Smith, and Masopust appear on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 4 p.m. (the picnicking starts at 2 p.m.) at the Mountain Theater on Mount Tamalpais. A $5 donation is requested; call 487-1701 for more information or directions.

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Sam Prestianni

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