Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Sat, Jun 12 2021 4:00 PM

The Back Room
1984 Bonita Ave Berkeley
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Larry Ochs & Donald Robinson - OUTDOORS

Celebrating the June 2021 release of their second and definitive duo recording, A Civil Right, Donald Robinson (drums) and Larry Ochs (saxophones) are really looking forward to this East Bay show; an actual live performance. The Duo will perform pieces from their new CD, releasing on ESP-Disk’, where free-jazz icon Albert Ayler became the first free-jazz musician to record for the now legendary label in 1964. A lot has changed since 1964, but a lot and perhaps "too much" remains virtually the same. So our duo music, while influenced by many musical discoveries and sociological developments that have become part of the firmament over the past 60 years, still celebrates and revels in the spirit of sixties free jazz.

Ochs is a founding member of the great ROVA Saxophone Quartet, one of the Bay Area’s avant-garde treasures since 1978. Robinson – “a percussive dervish,” according to Coda – was the drummer of choice for ROVA’s revivification of John Coltrane’s Ascension. The East Bay Express has said of the saxophonist’s sound: “Ochs’ full-bodied tenor is out of the John Coltrane/Albert Ayler ‘free’ tradition: forceful, passionate… talking-in-tongues,” while the Chicago Reader said about the drummer and his relationship with Ochs: “Robinson is neither flashy nor explosive, but his playing has heft and he covers lots of ground – he can maintain a feeling of order while playing meter-less rhythms or transform the pulse of jagged post-bop until it’s almost abstract. He’s a good match for Ochs, and over the decades the two of them have developed a fine-tuned rapport.”

Although Ochs and Robinson have collaborated in various groups for 30 years, their duo is a more recent phenomenon, having developed over the past decade. Ochs says: “Our playing together has evolved to a really special place, I think. We’re definitely coming out of the tradition of horn-drum duos from Archie Shepp / Max Roach to Wadada Leo Smith / Louis Moholo Moholo, but we’ve found our own space after a long stretch of shows together. Our set will include pieces from the new CD, with some high-energy playing and things that are more spatial and contemplative. In a setting like this, Duo music hits a listener right away – nothing is obscured, everything is clear.”

Ochs and Robinson first performed together from 1991 to 1998 in The Glenn Spearman Double Trio. From 1994 to 2002, they worked with bassist Lisle Ellis in the trio What We Live, a band that recorded many CDs and added incredible guests for special concerts/recordings including Dave Douglas, Wadada Leo Smith, Nels Cline, John Zorn, Miya Masaoka, Saadet Turkoz and Chris Brown, among others. From 2000 until 2010 Robinson was part of the Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core featuring drummer Scott Amendola, as well as Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura from 2007 - 2010. Throughout all this time, Ochs and Robinson jammed and rehearsed in Robinson’s studio, easily done as they live only 15 minutes apart. Thus it seems inevitable that they would – eventually - create a special repertoire for this duo.

Tickets are $20. Children under 12 are free.

We strongly encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance, which are available thru this link here, or you may pay at the door the day of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept only cash at the door (ATMs are nearby).

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-381-1997.
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Audio samples in which musicians at this event play:
Videos featuring musicians playing at this event
Biggi Vinkeloe - alto saxophone, flute Donald Robinson - drums Joe Lasqo - piano, laptop, percussion Teddy Rankin-Parker - cello Lisle Ellis - contrabass, acoustic bass guitar April 19, 2014, The Emerald Tablet, San Francisco, CA Video by Charles Smith