324

John Zorn: Femina

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
John Zorn: Femina John Zorn returns to his famous "file card" technique of composing with Femina, a disc he wrote and conducts with an all-woman lineup, dedicated to women in the arts. Among those honored here are Meredith Monk, Simone de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo, Madame Blavatsky, Isadora Duncan, Hélène Cixous, Gertrude Stein, Abe Sada, Sylvia Plath, Louise Bourgeois, Margaret Mead, Loie Fuller, Dorothy Parker, Yoko Ono and the moon goddess En Hedu'Anna.

Zorn first released Spillane (Elektra, 1988), a tribute to detective pulp fiction writer Mickey Spillane, composed with his technique of writing sound blocks on note cards that could be sorted and resorted into a musical score. These file cards were arranged with themes and various musicians in mind. Here, the theme is carried out by a cast of stellar downtown musicians and longtime Zorn collaborators.

Written in four parts, the disc opens with Laurie Anderson's narrative cutting to pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, played over Ikue Mori's electronic doodles. The next card is some bang-up percussion from Shayna Dunkelman that washes out into Carol Emanuel, Jennifer Choi, and Okkyung Lee's strings. Zorn's score reveals his choice to place certain sound blocks next to another. Sometimes the transitions are abrupt, noisy, and feverish, other sections meld into gently flowing sequences. As with the original Spillane and his Naked City band, the astonishing revelation is that this music and its segues are not post-production studio creations, but live performance by these talented artists.

Like many other works by Zorn, sheer beauty is often juxtaposed against noise, and scary themes jostle the passages of tranquility. But, then, fans of his music must always expect his music to abruptly awaken.

Although the disc is a mere 37 minutes in length, Tzadik Records makes a strong argument for the CD over download, with exceptional packaging that includes a 52-page booklet of Kiki Smith's photography.


Track Listing: Femina (part one); Femina (part two); Femina (part three); Femina (end titles).

Personnel: Jennifer Choi:violin; Sylvie Courvoisier:piano; Carol Emanuel:harp; Okkyung Lee:cello; Ikue Mori:electronics; Shayna Dunkelman:percussion; Laurie Anderson:ppening narration.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Tzadik | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "The Music Of Jackie McLean" CD/LP/Track Review The Music Of Jackie McLean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 6, 2016
Read "Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth
by Doug Collette
Published: August 15, 2016
Read "Perceive React" CD/LP/Track Review Perceive React
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by John Kelman
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "El Viaje" CD/LP/Track Review El Viaje
by James Nadal
Published: September 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!

Buy it!