“Few events in the history of jazz have asserted the self-determination of its practitioners with greater conviction and impact than October Revolution In Jazz, a fiercely independent festival of avant garde music that the trumpeter and composer Bill Dixon organised at New York’s Cellar Cafe in 1964. He borrowed that name from the Bolshevik uprising of 1917, but his own effort was rich in consequence, a communal event that spawned The Jazz Composers Guild, led the way for The Jazz Composers Orchestra Association, and preceded the formation of the highly important New Music Distribution Service – the first serious distribution service for self-released labels and noncommercial independents.”
— Wire Magazine
The festival featured many artists ultimately presented by Ars Nova Workshop (ANW) and representative of its foundational curatorial focus, such as Dixon, John Tchicai, Paul Bley, Alan Silva, Burton Greene, Cecil Taylor, Giuseppi Logan, and Sun Ra. Namely musicians who interrogated and redefined the conventions of jazz.
Beginning in 2017, ANW, Philadelphia’s premier jazz and contemporary music presenter, continues to carry that torch with a four-day “listening” festival, The October Revolution of Jazz & Contemporary Music (OctRev). OctRev is a dynamic festival experience constructed out of a variety of sonic adventures and revelations, led by musicians and artists who are pushing boundaries and opening borders.
Imagine a city attuned, a fellowship of listeners actively exploring an aural landscape. Composer Pauline Oliveros (ANW presented her last two Philadelphia appearances) referred to this as “deep listening” – the act of becoming aware of the vast range of sounds that we live within. “Listening” is the watchword of the OctRev Festival. The entire infrastructure of the festival will be focused on supporting that experience, to ensure that audiences have the comfort, freedom, time, and access to interact fully with the performances.
“In this kind of landscape, in which music of all kinds can play a central role, the participants do not listen for something,” says Mark Christman, Executive & Artistic Director of ANW. “They are focusing instead on the experience of listening itself—tuning in.”