"Simply put, As Was is a masterpiece of American creative music. These huge quartet recordings from the band's first incarnation with Andrew Voigt were first issued on Larry Ochs and Henry Kaiser's legendary Metalanguage label in '81, and have never been previously available on CD. Bay Area ROVA continue to make great music; they are the finest, most adventurous saxophone quartet in the biz. This record features some of their most memorable compositions, including the superb, r&b inflected "Paint Another Take Of The Shootpop," dedicated to Olivier Messiaen and Otis Redding, and "Daredevils," which Larry Ochs describes as "...a little hit of the circus." As Was has been remastered & resequenced from original tapes by Rova's Larry Ochs, UMS has restored the swank original cover to the form it was initially envisioned (when printed for the LP is didn't turn out the way the group wanted it to...). This one record shows how expansive and exciting the sometimes mundane saxophone quartet format can be, when deployed with the right combination of care and spunk"
"The ROVA Saxophone Quartet got started in late '70s Berkeley, nurtured by the thriving Mills College free music scene. Often credited with reinventing the notion of a saxophone quartet, the all-saxophone ensemble featured soprano, alto, tenor, and bass sax, and even, on occasion, "sopranino," or piccolo sax. Not surprisingly, the group was influenced by post-bop saxophone composers like John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and Anthony Braxton. But it also counted as sources of inspiration avant-garde greats like musique concrete giant Edgard Varese and experimental pioneer John Cage, as well as ethnic musics from all over world.
Over the two-plus decades since the group's inception, its members have developed a synergistic, highly unique style of structured improvisation marked first and foremost by the dynamic interplay of different saxophone tones. ROVA's fierce commitment to creative music has taken them from a marginal place at the fringe of the avant-garde to a position as leaders in the new school of collective improvisation. The group has embarked upon collaborative endeavors with such noted boundary pushers as Braxton, Terry Riley, John Zorn, Fred Frith, the Kronos Quartet, and Alvin Curran. Their discography contains nearly 40 releases. They've even incorporated as a nonprofit. They're an institution.
One of ROVA's earliest recordings, As Was (1981), stands as a benchmark in the history of 20th century creative music. It's a riotous circus of competing and complementary reed sounds and a carefully considered study in contrasting textures". Jesse Ashlock, Epitonic.com
Jon Raskin: baritone, alto, soprano saxes, clarinet
Larry Ochs: tenor, sopranino, alto saxes
Andrew Voigt: alto, sopranino, soprano saxes, flutes
Bruce Ackley: soprano sax, clarinet