Although they all pursue other projects, the quartet has stayed intact because it is more than just a musical ensemble; Rova is an aesthetic vision. Fully anchored in jazz-derived modernity, the group has sought to explore a broad variety of musical territories, from medieval to modern European music, to rock, noise, chance composition, and beyond. It has recorded the new jazz-related music of Braxton and John Zorn, but also the compositions of contemporary classical composer Terry Riley. While continuing to develop new pieces written by its members for the ensemble, it has continually sought to collaborate with other musicians, visual artists, dancers, and digital manipulators. Last year, in tandem with twelve other saxophonists, they created the Sax Cloud, consisting of four saxophone quartets, arranged around a room so that each listener could hear a different blend, playing compositions by Steve Adams and Jon Raskin.
Rova expanded its sonic explorations this summer with the assistance of two innovative turntablists, DJ Olive and DJ P-Love, who manipulated the sounds of the group as they performed. In conjunction with this event, they posted one of their pieces online and announced a competition, inviting all members of the musical community to electronically remix and rework it. While so many other musicians fear many contemporary developments, Rova, in its fourth decade, has embraced them and seeks innovative ways of exploring the potential of new technologies and forms of interaction. After all these years, Rova continues to be an artistic ensemble for our times: it will appear at Kerrytown Concert House at 10 p.m. on October 22, as the finale of the four-day Edgefest festival.