445

John Zorn/Bar Kokhba Sextet: 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 11

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
John Zorn/Bar Kokhba Sextet: 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 11 Tzadik has already culled ten widely varied live releases from saxophonist/composer John Zorn's month-long 50th birthday celebration two years ago at Tonic in New York. Surprisingly enough, there are still more than a few to come. It should be testament enough that a single artist has created such a broad spectrum of work and equally diverse musical contexts in which to present it. But the consistently high quality of these releases really hammers home just how much of a cottage industry Zorn has become, especially with his Masada project over the past ten years.

The fact that previous 50th Birthday Celebration releases have all been single discs representing complete individual sets makes the three-CD release by the Bar Kokhba Sextet all the more significant, given that it comprises three of the four sets performed over two nights by the group—which features guitarist Marc Ribot, violinist Mark Feldman, cellist Erik Friedlander, bassist Greg Cohen, drummer Joey Baron, and percussionist Cyro Baptista, with Zorn conducting.

While over three hours of music might seem like a lot to absorb, the time seems to go by in an instant, despite more than the occasional challenge. Along with the Masada String Trio (Feldman/Friedlander/Cohen) and the flagship Masada quartet (Zorn, Cohen, Baron and trumpeter Dave Douglas), the Bar Kokhba Sextet that recorded half of '98's The Circle Maker has proven to be one of Zorn's most enduring ensembles. The jagged-edged "Karet and "Lachish provide effective contrast to more accessible, yet no less substantive material like the hauntingly dark-tinged "Kisofim and the hypnotically propulsive "Jachin, making all three sets compelling from start to finish.

And while some material is repeated throughout the three discs, the improvisational acumen of the players makes each tune worth revisiting. The basic arrangements may be fixed, but the soloists are not. Ribot takes an extended blues- and surf-inflected solo on the disc two version of "Lilin alongside an in-tandem improvisation by Feldman and Friedlander; on the version that opens disc one, Feldman and Friedlander each take clearly delineated solos, with Ribot in strictly a supporting role.

While Ribot, Friedman, and Friedlander are the dominant solo voices, the contributions of Cohen, Baron, and Baptista are equally vital. On tunes like "Lilin, where a long vamp leads up to the theme, they're absolutely key in setting the tone for what is to follow. With Baron involved in more subdued projects in recent years—like guitarist John Abercrombie's quartet and pianist John Taylor's trio—it's great to hear the kind of joyful abandon that established his reputation in the first place.

There's nary a weak spot on this 50th Birthday Celebration. For fans of Zorn's Masada project, this is essential listening; for newcomers, it's a great entry point.

Track Listing: CD1: Intro; Lilin; Yamid; Karet; Yatzar; Khebar; Eitan; Kivah; Teli. CD2: Intro; Khebar; Lachish; Kisofim; Jachin; Kochot; Hazor; Avelut; Lilin. CD3: Intro; Khebar; Hadasha; Hazor; Eitan; Karet; Idalah Abal; Teli; Avelut; Bith Aneth.

Personnel: Marc Ribot: guitar; Mark Feldman: violin; Erik Friedlander: cello; Greg Cohen: bass; Joey Baron: drums; Cyro Baptista: percussion; John Zorn: conductor.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Tzadik | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "X-Ray Search Light Project: Djuke Music" CD/LP/Track Review X-Ray Search Light Project: Djuke Music
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "Miles Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Smiles
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Convallaria" CD/LP/Track Review Convallaria
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "With Due Respect" CD/LP/Track Review With Due Respect
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "Metamorphosis" CD/LP/Track Review Metamorphosis
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Sanjay Divecha and Secret" CD/LP/Track Review Sanjay Divecha and Secret
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!