371

John Zorn/George Lewis/Bill Frisell: News For Lulu

Martin Longley By

Sign in to view read count
John Zorn/George Lewis/Bill Frisell: News For Lulu

This is another reissue of the 1987 album that found this avant super-trio in what was (and still is) unlikely territory, not only playing bebop, but also pouncing on a less than obvious repertoire. Four composers were selected, their hardboppin’ tunes more or less equally divided, with around four numbers each from trumpeter Kenny Dorham, tenor man Hank Mobley and pianists Freddie Redd and Sonny Clark. These recordings were made during the peak period of Zorn’s Naked City thrashcore band (which also featured Frisell) and even though these two had regularly toyed with the jazz mainstream, it was particularly unusual to find Lewis in such a setting  without dismantling his trombone or feeding its sounds through a computer program.



Even though the compositions are negotiated in boppish fashion, with tightly interlocked themes, Zorn still can’t resist leading an occasional foray into freedom, usually making such squalling flurriesduring a tune’s final minute. Lewis will follow,burbling and spluttering with a real-time succinctness to his self-editing scalpel. Otherwise, they’re negotiating a drummerless pulse, swinging strongly as they indulge in a quick-witted speed-dialogue, finishing each other’s phrases and building up each tune’s rolling momentum as a co-operative effort. Zorn and Lewis keep together quite closely, in a racing conversation that coincides or diverges with supple ease. Frisell is positioned in the stereo center, subdued in the mix and providing a backgrounded rhythmic chop, even if he’s not exactly fixed down in his duties. The four live bonus tracks have the guitarist’s volume increased, but their feel is very similar to that of the studio session.



All the pieces are around three or four minutes long, imbued with an exhilarating brevity. Every lick counts. The numbers are tuneful, breezy and fluid, the lineup allowing for great mobility around the implied motion of the beat. Zorn frequently issues comedic rasps, clowning with Lewis, while Frisell makes gently fragmented strokes, softly subverting the horn exchanges. Zorn is at his most bluesily soulful, Lewis is hearty and avuncular, Frisell wobbles as he needles. The silliest outbreak is during “Peckin’ Time,” when Zorn initiates a clucking farmyard squabble. Then, trombone and guitar form an unusual alliance on the title cut, cutting Zorn free to solo separately. These compositions all sound very familiar and this can’t be because they’re aired very often on the bebop stage. This has become an oft-visited disc in the collection, but its tunes surely deserve greater use as standards, either because they’re real hard bop classics or because they exist as prime distillations of archetypal bebop moves. It’s hard to tell which is which and why they sound so amazingly compulsive.


Track Listing: KD's Motion; Funk In Deep Freeze; Melanie; Melody For C; Lotus Blossom; Eastern Incident; Peckin' Time; Blues, Blues, Blues; Blue Minor I; This I Dig For You; Venita's Dance; News For Lulu; Ol?; Sonny's Crib; Hank's Other Tune; Blue Minor II; Windmill; Melanie (live); News For Lulu (live); Funk In Deep Freeze (live); Windmill (live).

Personnel: John Zorn: alto saxophone; George Lewis: trombone; Bill Frisell: guitar.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Hatology | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Stranger Days" CD/LP/Track Review Stranger Days
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "Today" CD/LP/Track Review Today
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 10, 2016
Read "Hatch and Host" CD/LP/Track Review Hatch and Host
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 25, 2016
Read "And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley" CD/LP/Track Review And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "The Havana Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Havana Sessions
by James Nadal
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Double Septet" CD/LP/Track Review Double Septet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 10, 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!

Buy it!