~ David Adler
What a spectacular month for the Masada String Trio (MST) who performed three times in four days! Their last performance was exactly a year ago, part of John Zorn's 50th birthday month-long celebration at Tonic (thankfully documented as a recent Tzadik release). Composer/arranger/conductor Zorn with Mark Feldman (violin), Erik Friedlander (cello) and Greg Cohen (bass) played at the Museum of Jewish Heritage's season opener (Sept. 8th) after shaking any unnoticeable rust off at Washington Heights Congregation up-uptown and Tonic only a few days earlier. Zorn, in the final stretch of his self-imposed month-long Ellington-esque composing streak of 92 (out of 100) new Masada pieces, dedicated the second half of MST's set to trying out a number of the new works for the first time. Their intuitive comfort treated the new melodies as if they were the Masada staples. The astonishing interplay, particularly Feldman's and Friedlander's arco and pizzicato, summoned both the sublime and surreal. With a rich history in classical music, this string trio format is strangely an uncommon one in jazz and improvisational music, but MST consistently reveals how much music there is that both realms share via Zorn's catchy Jewish-tinged melodies.
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