Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.


Jon Madof's Rashanim: Masada Rock; Irving Fields: Bagels and Bongos

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
John Zorn's ever-growing Masada cottage industry continues with another reinterpretation of the songbook, this time a rock version in the hands of Jon Madof's excellent trio Rashanim. Last month marked the beginning of the second year of celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Masada project, but never mind. The discs have been as diverse as they have been rewarding and quibbling over how long an anniversary should last is irrelevant when the harvest is so fruitful. The "Masada Rock moniker might sound quaint—or suggest worse—but Madof's effort deserves a place in the canon Zorn is building for himself. Overall, in fact, the Masada anniversary discs (wherein different downtown groups have been charged with reinterpreting a set of songs from the book) have been at least as strong as the releases by the original versions of the group.

Jon Madof's Rashanim
Masada Rock

Madof is a powerhouse in a scene that has been hungry for new guitarists. With the careers of Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot (who is featured on a few tracks here) having blossomed, Madof is a valuable new gun-for-hire in town and he proves himself here to be both a delicate and a hard-rocking player. If at times his blister is a little over the top (as on "Chorek and "Zemanim ), the mad swerves between head-solo-head and head-headbang-head are not so far removed from Zorn's cut-and-paste projects of the '80s. And his take on "Bahir deserves a spot on the Best of Masada: The First Quarter Century disc presumably slated for release in 2019.

Irving Fields
Bagels and Bongos
Reboot Stereophonic
2005 (1959)

The Masada project has been brilliant in its simplicity; Zorn has likened it to a book of heads akin to Monk's. What has made it work has been a close-knit group of virtuosos willing to endlessly reinterpret Zorn's modal themes. One of the most unusual elements has been Cyro Baptista's Latin percussion, so it comes as some surprise to hear the first CD issue of pianist Irving Fields' 1959 Bagels and Bongos. While certainly not ahead of its time, Fields' blending of Jewish themes, jazz piano, and Latin percussion was certainly bold. The native New Yorker was 44 when he made the record (and still plays three nights a week in Manhattan). His playing is romantic, his rhythm section light and overall it seems tailor-made for young couples too cool for the Catskills. As Tevye famously intoned, "Tradition!

Masada Rock

Tracks: Bahir; Makom; Zidon; Shadrakh; Chorek; Anakim; Zemanim; Ahavah; Arad; Terumah.

Personnel: Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz: electric bass, oud; Mathias Kunzli: percussion, drums; Jon Madof: guitar; Marc Ribot: guitar.

Bagels and Bongos

Tracks: Where Shall I Go; Pretty as a Moonbeam; I Love You Much Too Much; Havannah Negila; Rasins and Almonds; Mazeltov Merengue; David's Dance (Reb Duvidel); Joseph! Joseph!; Little Shawl (Dus Talesel); Belz; Miami Merengue (Rabbi Eile Melech); My Yiddishe Momme; Cha Cha No. 29; Bei Mir Bist du Schon.

Personnel: Irving Fields: piano.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money Multiple Reviews Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money
by Doug Collette
Published: December 29, 2017
Read Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez Abbasi’s Invocation Multiple Reviews Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 27, 2017
Read Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa Multiple Reviews Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute) and To Bonnie From Delaney Multiple Reviews The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute)...
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile Multiple Reviews Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile
by Doug Collette
Published: December 17, 2017
Read The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble, et. al Multiple Reviews The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble,...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment" Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August Rosenbaum" Multiple Reviews The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles" Multiple Reviews Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade" Multiple Reviews Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade
by John Eyles
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain" Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 12, 2017