When I was approached about programming concerts at SF Maritime as part of We Players’ cooperative agreement with the park, it didn’t take long to figure out what I wanted to do.
One approach was to explore themes of the sea in latin american music, which we’ve been doing in our Canciones del Mar concerts.
The other approach that came to me was at the other end of the musical spectrum, so to speak. A more ‘pure’ exploration of sound in space, the basic idea was to let improvisers loose in the park to react and respond to the sounds of the pier. The bigger idea is that working with other artists in the familiar site of SF Maritime will help We Players company staff see the Park in new and inspiring ways.
A longtime fan of the ROVA sax quartet, they were the first ensemble I thought of approaching for this project. For an astounding 35 years, ROVA has been developing an improvisational rapport, making them an ideal group to step into almost any situation with open ears. Larry and John came to scope out the pier and decided that the ferryboat Eureka was best suited to this endeavor, with ample space for both audience and performers to move freely during the concert.
I had initially conceived of Vessels for Improvisation as a solely musical event, but ROVA expressed interest in collaborating with dancer Shinichi Iova-Koga, which made perfect sense, as movement (of performers and audience alike) would be a major part of Vessels. Now in it’s second year, I’m very much looking forward to what Vessels will reveal, featuring an expanded ensemble with the addition of John Bischoff on electronics, and Dana Iova-Koga and Dohee Lee from inkBoat joining ROVA and Shinichi.
– Charlie Gurke, Music Director