These are videos that I like: John Zorn’s The Dreamers


John Zorn may be better known for his free jazz full of skronks and screeches, but to dismiss him as such and move on is a pretty unfortunate mistake.  Over the course of his career, he’s expanded his personal sound and the scope of his compositions to where his most recognizable aspect is the difficulty in which it is to categorize him.  His albums with the Dreamers ensemble is an excellent case in point.

On the 2009 release O’o, he’s cooked up a soup of jazz, klezmer, surf, rock and field sounds resulting in a mesmerizing set of tunes, often quite ambient even when they show some bite.

This first video is the track “Laughing Owl” and set to the passing landscape.

Your album personnel:  John Zorn (conductor, arrangements), Kenny Wollesen (vibes), Jamie Saft (keyboards), Marc Ribot (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass), Joey Baron (drums), and Cyro Baptista (percussion).

I’m a sucker for home videos like this.

The next video is a live performance of the song “Little Bittern,” which also appears on the album O’o.  The personnel on this live performance at the 2010 Jazz in Marciac festival are the same as the video above.  It shows that the ensemble is perfectly capable of bringing some edginess to their tranquil sound.

You can buy the album either at Zorn’s Tzadik label site or at Amazon.

The first couple weeks of the new year will see a few posts giving rundowns of various Zorn-Tzadik label recordings.  O’o will be just one of the Dreamers ensemble recordings covered by those columns.