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Larry Oaks & Don Robinson(v100) Larry Oaks (©Claudia Casanova) Don Robinso2 Duo Ochs Robinson

The California contemporary creative music performers and composers Larry Ochs (soprano and tenor saxophones) and Don Robinson (drums) are in concert at the Casa del Popolo on Wednesday, October 2nd, in a first time visit to Montreal by the Bay Area duo.

Both musicians have been highly active contributors to the West Coast music scene for over 30 years. They first performed together from 1991 to 1998 in the Glenn Spearman Double Trio. From 1994 to 2002, they worked with ex-Montreal bassist Lisle Ellis in the trio What We Live, a band that recorded many CDs and added incredible quests for special concerts/recordings including Dave Douglas, Wadada Leo Smith, Nels Cline, John Zorn, Miya Masaoka, Saadet Türköz and Chris Brown, among others. From 2000 until 2010, Robinson was part of the Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core featuring drummer Scott Amendola, Satoko Fujii and with 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. So it goes, it is only since 2011 that they began the successful duo collaboration that has been touring this year in Europe and North America and brings them to Montreal.

Larry Ochs, saxophones
In his thirty-plus years as a founding member of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Larry Ochs has created some two dozen compositions for saxophone quartet as well as other pieces for Rova in extended ensembles, many of which are recorded, and some of which were commissioned by Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation and Meet the Composer. He has been acting executive director of Rova:Arts since 1987. In addition Ochs currently composes for and leads the Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core [Stone Shift, CD]) and Kihnoua (with vocalist Dohee Lee, Scott Amendola and special guests [Sybil’s Whisper, 2012 CD]). He also performed in the collective bands East-West Ensemble (with Didier Petit, Sylvain Kassap, Miya Masaoka, Xu Fengxia), Jones Jones (with Mark Dresser and Vladimir Tarasov), Maybe Monday (with Masaoka and Fred Frith) and the Shelton-Ochs Quartet (with Aram Shelton, Kjell Nordeson and Scott Walton).

Don Robinson, drums
Described as a ‘percussive dervish’ (Coda), Donald Robinson is a technical master of the drums. He is a stalwart of the of San Francisco Bay Area contemporary jazz scene, playing and recording with many of the area’s improvisational players, from saxophonists John Tchicai, Marco Eneidi and Larry Ochs to koto player Miya Masaoka and pianist Matthew Goodheart, and with prominent visitors like Cecil Taylor, Wadada Leo Smith, George Lewis,, Raphe Malik and Paul Plimley. Much of this work has featured the combination of Robinson and bassist Lisle Ellis as rhythm section: ‘the best bass-drums tag team on the scene’ (Jazz Times). His longest musical association, dating from the 1970’s, was with the late tenor saxophonist Glenn Spearman.  Robinson is currently playing in many configurations with a broad range of musicians throughout Europe and the US. He recently completed a duo recording with Ochs released in 2013. He is also the drummer of choice on Rova Saxophone Quartet’s two recordings of John Coltrane’s Ascension (from 1996 and 2003).


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