Share this project


Share this project

12 innovative master-musicians in a one-time euphoric incarnation of John Coltrane's mighty Ascension, to be filmed for posterity
276 backers pledged $31,125 to help bring this project to life.

"Channeling Coltrane" DVD Package to be released January 2016!!

Posted by Rova:Arts & John Rogers (Creator)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Yes we can finally say it: A package including at least the concert video and the documentary "Cleaning the Mirror" will be released in January 2016.

The intent of the producer of the "DVD package" is to release a 3 disk set: (1) The BluRay version of "Electric Ascension Live at Guelph Jazz Festival 2012" that has 5.1 Surround Sound as well as an amazing extra that allows you to feature one player of your choice by mixing their volume up... for further study of individual contributions to this most orchestral of large ensemble pieces. (2) Standard DVD including the concert video and the documentary "Cleaning the Mirror."  And (3) A CD with the stereo mix of the live concert.

It's not 100% yet; but it feels like this will be what's in the package.

The "Channeling Coltrane” package will be released to coincide with Rova and friends performing the piece “Electric Ascension” at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan on January 16 or 17, 2016. And then from January 19-24 Rova will be in residence at The Stone, performing 12 sets of music that include performances of some pieces that have not been performed for 20 years, and that include many special guests. Check out the Stone performance calendar online for details.

Sorry for the long silence, but we felt we should wait until we were sure that this was actually going to happen. Yes! The hurdles placed in front of us seem now to have been overcome. Onward!

Back from CIMM Fest - John Rogers

Posted by Rova:Arts & John Rogers (Creator)

Larry Ochs, Starr Sutherland, and I were in Chicago recently, where "Rova Channeling Coltrane" screened at the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMM Fest), on May 3. It was a thrill to be there to show the films, as I was inspired by so much of the jazz, blues, and improvised music coming out of Chicago in the 70’s and 80’s, particularly the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Bringing "Electric Ascension Live at Guelph," and "Cleaning the Mirror," to Chicago, felt like I was adding my 2 cents to the story. Although of course it’s not really mine. 

  The audience was small, devoted, and knowledgeable; which seems to often be the case at live performances of this music in the US. Sitting with a crowd watching and listening to the films has been fascinating for me. I used to get much more nervous at screenings of films I was involved in, couldn’t even sit down. Now, I can relax a little more and enjoy the experience of sharing the work. Sometimes I try to view the films without memory, and to see them “objectively,” but it’s a lost cause. I have spent so much time with the documentary that I am a little numb to it. Even then, there are still moments I treasure. As for the "Electric Ascension" concert, I still get carried away. Every time I watch it from beginning to end, I learn something new, and it isn’t always about music.  

When I got back to San Francisco, Starr mentioned that a friend told him after the screening that he felt like he had, “…died and gone to hell.” That’s not the kind of review one hopes to hear, except that the reception for the films has generally been so enthusiastic, it was strangely refreshing to hear that someone still hated this music. Maybe it reinforces its potency for me. Challenging and potentially transformative art always has its detractors. I’m secretly glad that the Rova version of, “the most vexatious work in jazz history,” can still generate a little hate. Finally, I didn’t get a chance to see many films at CIMM Fest, but I won’t soon forget “Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt,” a well-made and terribly sad film from 2004, about the talented Texas singer-songwriter. See it if you get a chance.

And Larry asked me to mention the videos of one Vincent Moon. Most of his videos, shot in the past 5 years travelling the world, are beautifully rendered, short impressions of traditional world musics. What makes them special is his ability to shoot from deep inside the process, as if he were invisible to the actual participants. Highly recommended: 

Finally, we would also like to encourage any of you who have seen the "Electric Ascension" concert video, or the documentary, to get your impressions online through Facebook, your own websites, e-mail, word-of-mouth, etc..  We appreciate any and all attempts to  get the word out.  

News on Electric Ascension including: Screening May 3, 2014 in Chicago

Posted by Rova:Arts & John Rogers (Creator)

Greetings from Rova and John Rogers out here in the Bay Area,

First of all, I’d like to say that “Channeling Coltrane” will be screened as part of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival on May 3 at 5 PM. The venue in Chicago will be: The Society for Arts : 1112 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642. If you live in Chicago, you will receive no greater reward than to come to this screening. Assuming you have not caught Electric Ascension in person between 2003 and 2012, seeing the concert video is the ultimate natural high. In fact, this may be the best way to see and hear the music: the film has an incredible mix in 5.1 surround sound, but even though the music is coming at you in full blown beautiful sound, the concert video is somehow very intimate feeling. You feel right there with the musicians onstage. And the Guelph version has many blues-drenched moments in it, as well as the expected peaks that occur during the full-ensemble sections. If you do not live in Chicago, please forward this to friends there that you know would dig it. They will owe you, and thank you. I guarantee it.

 Everyone is working on getting more screenings in the USA and Europe, but it’s a slow and difficult process. Many, many more indy films out there than there are venues or programs or festivals to show them. And as usual with everything “Rova” this Channeling Coltrane show doesn’t quite fit into most festivals. The piece consists of a documentary of 45 minutes in hand-held style, and then the opulent-feeling five-camera, 67-minute performance-video of the concert from Guelph Jazz Festival in 2012. 

 Sorry for the long silence since the last communication. But we have been busy. In terms of the film moving forward, it’s in fact mostly been John Rogers and his crew doing much of the technical work at this point. Suffice it to say that all backer rewards have been sent out except for the hard copies of the DVD/Blu-ray promised to some backers. Those few copies have now arrived, and they will be sent out in the next week or two. 

 As far as a commercial release goes, the film process involves getting as many screenings as possible before an actual DVD/Blu-Ray release. The hoped-for scenario: 2015, early 2016 - if everything else required to put the package out is ironed out by then. 

 If you did not receive your download, or have any other questions, send an email to and write:  “Kickstarter question; attn. Larry Ochs” in the subject header.

 John Rogers and I will be at the Chicago screening May 3. Hope to see you at the movies.  

Stay tuned,

Larry Ochs 

Music Download

Posted by Rova:Arts & John Rogers (Creator)

Hello Rova:Arts supporters!

We hear that not everyone has received the music download reward that should have. We'll be resending the link to everyone this weekend.

If you haven't received a link by Monday 5 pm (PT), send us an email at and let us know.

Thanks for your support. You are going to love this music!

Brent Miller

Rova:Arts Admin

Ochs Reporting In: Upcoming Screenings, a DVD, a June Rova show in SF with Ikue Mori and Gino Robair

Posted by Rova:Arts & John Rogers (Creator)

A private screening took place at Dolby Studios in San Francisco at the very end of April. John Rogers documentary about Coltrane's Ascension and Rova's Electric Ascension ("Cleaning the Mirror") was shown first. Then the concert video of Electric Ascension was shown in glorious Blu-Ray with 5.1 Surround Sound. 

Some of you were there, plus 4 of the musicians in the performance, plus music and film associates, board members,  and friends of both Rova:Arts and Ideas in Motion. It's very clear from the response that afternoon that the entire project has been a fantastic success.

So two things are now in process. John Rogers and Ideas in Motion are now trying to line up film festivals and - eventually - big city venues that are capable of presenting the concert film in 5.1 Surround Sound. For those of you who don't know, "surround sound" adds a third speaker to a normal stereo system;  instead of having your typical left-front and right-front speaker, you now have an added speaker in the center of the screen in front of you. This third speaker makes all the sound much clearer, better defined, and especially allows for the low end of the sound spectrum to be heard much more distinctly. And then there are also two side speakers which really open the sound up, even though 95% of the musical sound is still in the 3 front speakers. But the side-speakers make the sound feel more immediate and real.

The second process in motion is to figure out how to best release a DVD version of the two videos, so that people can purchase this to watch at home. We imagine the package including both the stereo DVD and a blu-ray version with the 5.1 sound included on the blu-ray. The blu-ray version, it is hoped, will also contain an amazing "extra." In June the film producers will consult with an expert in the computer field who thinks he will be able to create this extra. If it works out as imagined, then anyone will be able to go to any  section of the concert video, and then choose one player to highlight. When highlighted you would, for example, be able to hear Nels Cline's playing raised above the rest of the ensemble during that section of the piece. On repeated listenings you will be able to highlight any other player you choose. So if the ensemble is in a very dense section, an orchestral section, and you are wondering what exactly is Cline's contribution to this mass of sound, you will now be able to investigate that. In other words, for students of music and hard-core fans, there will be a whole lot more listening to do over time since you could make this choice with any player, but only one at a time.

I spent many, many hours mixing both the stereo and 5.1 surround sound. (I'm more the adviser than the mixer, since I sit behind the official engineers - Jim McKee on 5.1 and Marc Urselli on the stereo mix - and suggest what should come up and go down.) On this performance, I can say that everyone's contributions to the music were worthy of being heard alone all the way thru the piece. But of course, this is an orchestral work and much of the time, when the entire band or a large portion of the band is playing, choices are made that lift one or two players above the others, or purposely equalize all sounds so that the final mix is orchestrally balanced. The "extra" on blu-ray would  allow you to hear individual contributions to the orchestral sound, should you want to get into that kind of detail. It's a pretty cool idea, and worth the delay it may cause in getting the final product out.

In the meantime, for those of you in or near to San Francisco, let me take this moment to alert you to the fact that a sextet of Rova plus Ikue Mori and Gino Robair will present the first performances of a new work called "Grand Electric Skull" on June 6 and 7 in San Francisco's Kanbar Hall; the Hall is located in Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and is one of the best places in San Francisco to hear music. Initially inspired by the topical urgency of Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada’s calaveras imagery, Rova teams up with world renowned visual artist, Ikue Mori, and composer and multi-instrumentalist Gino Robair to create this  ambitious collaborative work. Robair will provide a map of the piece, and Rova will collaborate with Robair on the composed-improvised musical score. Mori will be focused on providing live-mixes of images to multiple screens onstage.  Robair and Mori will mix and manipulate audio and visual information in real time, lending improvisatory elements of surprise and correspondence to the concert experience.......for tickets:       

...............To see a small sampling of the raw images Mori has chosen for possible use in the piece: 

  •  project video thumbnail
    Replay with sound
    Play with

  • Image 259412 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0