Jan 17 2018
Recommended: John Zorn – “The Interpretation of Dreams”
Filmmaker Luis Buñuel and author William Burroughs are the underpinning of this deep dive into surrealism. Three extended pieces expand upon the spirit of their works, though it won’t require a hard sell to convince anyone that these compositions source from John Zorn‘s personal dreamstate. The trio of vibraphonist Sae Hashimoto, drummer Tyshawn Sorey and bassist Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz perform the album’s first and third pieces, while pianist Stephen Gosling and the Jack Quartet collaborate on the middle piece.
These pieces are uneasy dreams, where scattered thoughts leads to frayed nerves and apprehensive motions. The melody of “Naked Lunch” is battered and bounced around, its shape formed less by melodic intent than rhythmic consequence. The interplay between piano and string quartet on “Obscure Objects of Desire” sometimes manifests as a wary harmonic embrace and other times as a violent outburst of dissonance. When the trio opens final piece “The Exterminating Angel” where they left off on “Naked Lunch,” a sense of coming full circle is juxtaposed with a sense of stopping somewhere quite new… especially when it leads to introspective interludes of momentary peace followed by the rich melodicism more closely associated with Zorn’s Dreamers ensemble.
The Interpretation of Dreams is yet another example, one of many, why the Tzadik label has earned its reputation as an incubator of the most imaginative projects on the scene.
Your album personnel: Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (bass), Tyshawn Sorey (drums), Sae Hashimoto (vibraphone), Stephen Gosling (piano), and the Jack Quartet of Jay Campbell (cello), John Pickford (viola), Austin Wulliman (violin) and Chris Otto (violin).
Released on Tzadik Records.
Jan 23 2020
Best of 2019 #49: Zion80 – “The Book Beri’ah Vol.8: Hod”
There’s a nearly delirious euphoria that accompanies Zion80 as they switch between dancing a melody on a pinhead and grooving like a second line through the streets of New Orleans. The dectet’s fusion of Jewish music and Afro-beat is a natural fit for John Zorn’s Book of Angels series, where the mysticism, mayhem, and celebratory cheer are complementary ingredients for one powerful drink. Heady infusions of rock, Balkan music and punk attitude add a left hook to go with the music’s stinging right cross. There’s something special about how this group embraced Zorn’s compositions. It’s not a unique occurrence; these Zorn projects seem to bring it out of the musicians, and it’s why these installments are so beloved by music fans. But the frequency with which this special quality manifests makes it no less precious each time it occurs. The enthusiasm this music transmits is positively infectious. It sounds like the band was in the studio having the time of their lives. Perhaps they were. This music is all the evidence they’d need to present, and that’s something we, as music fans, can never get enough of.
Your album personnel: Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (bass), Yoshie Fruchter (guitar), Frank London (trumpet), Jessica Lurie (baritone & alto saxophones, flute), Jon Madof (guitar), Brian Marsella (keyboards), Greg Wall (tenor sax), John Zorn (sax), Yuval Lion (drums), Zach Mayer (baritone sax), and Marlon Sobol (percussion).
Released on Tzadik Records.
Music from New York City.
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By davesumner • Recap: Best of 2019 • 0 • Tags: Best Jazz of 2019, Brian Marsella, Jessica Lurie, John Zorn, Jon Madof, New York City, Tzadik label, Zion80