308

John Zorn: Masada Anniversary Edition, Vol. 4: Masada Recital

By

Sign in to view read count
I suppose that since John Zorn plays alto saxophone and improvisation has played a crucial part in his music over the years, by convention he could be described as a "jazz musician. But as a composer he has been anything but conventional, drawing on myriad influences that range from film scores and cartoon themes to Braxton and Ornette and every culture within range of a recording microphone.

Zorn doesn't play on Masada Recital. Instead, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and violinist Mark Feldman interpret selections from his rich Masada songbook in a style that places these compositions squarely in eastern Europe where the music of radical Jewish culture originates. "Kanah is a straight-up contemporary classical piece with a cinematic range, suited to a tense train ride through the Alps, or appropriate for covering up the physical evidence of an incident that would be of interest to the authorities. "Socoh is less structured and consequently more unnerving as Feldman substitutes violent sawing for the previous track's decorative filigrees. "Mahshaz begins as a piano feature and Courvoisier moves forward cautiously, tentatively, conveying the delicacy of a music box theme and evoking the sorrow and pain of loss, before she affirms the will to go on in a succinct and sweet resolution.

Both musicians employ a variety of techniques to elicit unexpected sounds from their instruments, and Feldman, who has played with Johnny Cash in Nashville and They Might Be Giants in Brooklyn, consistently impresses with his virtuosity. On "Abidan, he plucks his strings precisely and intensely while Courvoisier strums her piano to create thrumming accompaniment, and "Azekah achieves a purity of tone with sustained notes that simulate the high-pitch of a pennywhistle. "Karaim is quiet and deliberately paced and Feldman is able to hold a single note for the better part of a minute in spots. His solo control on "Aravat is remarkable.

It's probably not jazz. But it is captivating, beautifully played and deeply moving. Zorn has never been into labels. Why should we?


Track Listing: Kanah; Socoh; Mahshaz; Karet; Abidan; Malkut; Azekah; Nezikin; Karaim; Hath Arob; Aravot; Mahlah

Personnel: Sylvie Courvoisier (piano); Mark Feldman (violin)

Title: Masada Anniversary Edition, Vol. 4: Masada Recital | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Tzadik


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Way of It CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Tag Book CD/LP/Track Review Tag Book
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Hide Ye Idols CD/LP/Track Review Hide Ye Idols
by Troy Collins
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Spavati, Mozda Sanjati CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Sharpener" CD/LP/Track Review Sharpener
by Nick Davies
Published: December 21, 2016
Read "Points of View" CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "The Best of Big Star" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Big Star
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn" CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "After The Rain" CD/LP/Track Review After The Rain
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Resting in a Fold of the Fog" CD/LP/Track Review Resting in a Fold of the Fog
by John Eyles
Published: March 16, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor