Late 2007: Unsquare (Intakt 132), the trio's first new release in a few years, with special guests Gerry Hemingway, Carla Kihlstedt, Ikue Mori and Zeena Parkins; a masterpiece of collective improvisation. Recorded one afternoon in-studio in New York City (November, 2006, during a 3 night residency at The Stone.)
Maybe Monday performs entirely improvised music. The group performed for the first time at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in March 1997 at the suggestion of Fred Frith who at the time was in residence at Mills College, Oakland. A tour in 1998 allowed the group to focus its musical territory; the tour went to Vancouver, Canada; Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago witha leter concert in San Francisco. The music was well described in this review from the 1997 Great American Music Hall concert:
"The trio of Fred Frith, Miya Masaoka, and Larry Ochs is one of those groups that look unlikely on paper but once heard has an emotional logic that suggests they've always been there, doing that.... No strangers to each others' music — Frith and Ochs have been associated, via Rova, for many years, Frith has toured Europe with Masaoka (and Tom Cora), the musical lives of Ochs and Masaoka have intersected on several occasions — the trio enables these strong and instantly recognisable voices to re-invent themselves, finding quite other solutions in each others' company to those they might arrive at in other contexts.
The delicate mesh of electric and acoustic, ethnic and urban, tradition and experiment sets up a tension in this music which places it apart from the high energy/noise-oriented confrontation that characterises a lot of contemporary improvising. It's a tension, however, that is sometimes most ingeniously resolved. Contradictions abound — in the ferocious lyricism of Ochs, the placid aggression of Masaoka, Frith's passionate detachment — but the result, rather than shocking or unsettling the listener, is as familiar as breathing, as inevitable as fire." — Piet Schaap, June, 1997
Miya Masaoka → Koto, Electronics Visit Website
Miya Masaoka works simultaneously in the varied musical worlds of jazz, Western classical music, electronic music, traditional Japanese music and free improvisation, and is currently the director of an ensemble of traditional Japanese court music, the San Francisco Gagaku Society. She has studied Japanese music with court musician Suenobu Togi, and holds music degrees from San Francisco State University, a Masters Degree in Composition from Mills College and certificates from the Chikushi gakko school. Her debut recording for solo koto, Compositions/Improvisations received critical acclaim in Europe and the United States, and made several "Top Ten" lists, including CODA, The Bay Guardian (from two different critics) and the East Bay Express.
She has performed extensively in Japan and the US and also has toured in India and Canada; both solo and with a wide variety of musicians and traditions, including Pharoah Sanders, L. Subramaniam, The Berlin Rias Dorchester Symphony and the Berlin Opera, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Steve Coleman, Mark Izu, Francis Wong, George Lewis, Henry Kaiser, Fred Frith, Wadada Leo Smith, Rohan de Saram (Arditti String Quartet), James Newton and many others.
Her Eastern sense of time and space, multiplicities of aesthetics and improvisational skills have distinguished Masaoka as a new virtuoso and innovator on the contemporary landscape. She has a residency at STEIM in the Netherlands to build a midi interface for her koto.
Fred Frith → Guitars, Misc. Instruments Visit Website
Fred Frith, composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist, has been a fixture for more than twenty-five years in the area where rock music and new music meet. Co-founder of the British underground band Henry Cow (1968-78), he moved to New York in the late seventies and came into contact with many of the musicians with whom he's since been associated, including, for example, John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins, and Bob Ostertag.
Fourteen years in New York gave rise to groups like Massacre (with Bill Laswell and Fred Maher), Skeleton Crew (with Tom and Zeena), and Keep the Dog, a sextet performimg an extensive repertoire of Frith's compositions.
In the eighties he began to write for dance, film, and theatre, and this in turn has led to his composing for Rova Sax Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Asko Ensemble, and a number of other groups, including his own critically acclaimed Guitar Quartet. Best known world-wide as an improvising guitarist, Frith has also performed in a variety of other contexts, playing bass in John Zorn's Naked City, violin in Lars Hollmer's Looping Home Orchestra, and guitar on recordings ranging from The Residents and Renי Lussier to Brian Eno and Amy Denio. Frith is the subject of Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzels' award-winning documentary film Step Across the Border. He lives in Germany with photographer Heike Liss and their children Finn and Lucia.
Larry Ochs → Sopranino and Tenor Saxophones
Larry Ochs: performing with Rova Sax Quartet (1979 - present); Room (1986 - 1995); What We Live (1994 - present); Glenn Spearman Double Trio (1991 - 1998); John Lindberg Ensemble (1998 - present); Frith, Masaoka, and Ochs aka Maybe Monday (1997 - present); Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core (2000 to present)... Recordings with all the previous groups... Collaborations and/or recordings with John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Terry Riley, Alvin Curran, Joan Jeanrenaud, George Lewis, India Cooke, Butch Morris, Dave Douglas, Barry Guy, Henry Kaiser, Gerry Hemingway, Marilyn Crispell, among others... Commissions from Meet the Composer and Chamber Music America, among others... Writing about the music at www.rova.org as well as in Arcana, edited by John Zorn.