River Cow Orchestra alters the conventions of jazz. Our music philosophy focuses on collective improvisation, similar to the old New Orleans Jazz parades, paying particular attention to how each band member interacts with the group as a whole. We ignore traditional features such as written melodies over fixed chord changes and instead focus on the roots of jazz, collective spontaneous improvisation.
We seek to explore the process of artistic creation rather than focus on making a polished commercial product for entertainment. We emphasize mood and place an aesthetic premium on the character of each individual rather than the technical skill of each musician.
We follow the trailblazers of avant-garde and free jazz who extended the conventional jazz elements in search of greater artistic expression. We believe third millennium jazz innovation lies with collective spontaneous improvisation and are indebted to the talented musical artists which showed us the way:
Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Sam Rivers, Sun Ra, Rahassan Roland Kirk, AACM and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, Derek Bailey, Don Cherry, Butch Miles, Charles Mingus, Roscoe Mitchell, Charlie Haden, later works of John Coltrane & Miles Davis, and many others.