"We had this idea of bringing a video crew with us," says Larry Ochs of a visit to the Soviet Union a year ago. Ochs is a member of ROVA, a San Francisco-based saxophone quartet that will perform Saturday at d.c. space. The idea seemed preposterous at first, but the difficulties turned out to be minimal. Funding and logistics were soon worked out and ROVA and Ideas in Motion, the video crew with a Russian-speaking cameraman, were on their way for 10 days of jazz festival hopping in the U.S.S.R. "Saxophone Diplomacy," a half-hour film culled from the considerable footage taken, will be included in ROVA's program Saturday.
"Of course, it was officially illegal," says Ochs. "I mean, there's no way that you're allowed to go down the streets of Leningrad and interview people. Three times the police came and they told the crew to stop and one time they pulled a woman away and took her down the block and lectured her and then let her go." But Ochs adds, "We got the feeling that someone somewhere was saying, 'It's okay, just let them go about their business.' "