Of the various ensembles performing the Masada songbook under composer (and sometimes player) John Zorn's leadership, the Masada String Trio may not be the most excitingit's hard to compete with horns and guitarsbut it is the most beautiful. The sheer musicianship of the trio of violinist Mark Feldman, cellist Erik Friedlander and bassist Greg Cohen is hard to beat, and they are among the most frequent interpreters of Zorn's hundreds of themes for the project.
Azazel is the second volume of recordings from the second book of Masada compositions (after the Jamie Saft Trio's Astaroth, Tzadik 2005) and the third disc by the trio. The musicians raise the excitement bar, however, delivering the most energetic performances they've yet recorded. That has something to do with the material: the first two pieces ("Tufiel and "Mibi ), and then the fourth ("Symnay ), proceed at breakneck speeds and most of the rest get pretty vivace. Who knew angels flew so fast?
Tzadik has built an expert production team, from Saft's bright, warm recording to Chippy's elegant design, and the label has built a sizeable audience as well, especially for the Masada projects. If, after a decade, a second set of compositions is what it took to keep the coal burning in the Masada oven, then Zorn is to be thanked. Azazel is guaranteed not to disappoint.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.