497

John Zorn: O'o

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Named after an extinct Hawaiian bird, O'o is the charming follow up to the self-titled debut of composer John Zorn's most accessible project, The Dreamers. Culled from Zorn's inner circle of longstanding collaborators, this all-star sextet of Downtown veterans explores his most tuneful compositions, threading aspects of easy listening, exotica, film soundtracks, surf, and world music into an evocative panorama.

Zorn's recent forays into conventional song forms and traditional structures reveal a softening approach to composition. Though no stranger to melody or harmony, Zorn's musical statements have become more cohesive and predictable over the past few years—the polar opposite of his seminal game pieces, like Cobra, and his most revered band, Naked City. Although the mercurial improvisations of his early game pieces still drive the furious Electric Masada, and Moonchild continues on its nineties-inspired path of metallic destruction, his neo-classical chamber music writing, acoustic Masada projects and ensembles like the recent piano trio featured on Alhambra Love Songs (Tzadik, 2009) offer a more introspective view. Since the dissolution of Naked City in the early nineties, each of Zorn's various ensembles has adopted a distinct identity; Masada has become the standard bearer, while The Dreamers are the yin to Moonchild's yang.

With a mix of wistful nostalgia and cinematic ambience, The Dreamers brings Zorn's fondness for Post-War exotica to life, invoking the buoyant surf of The Astronauts ("Laughing Owl"), the celluloid drama of Ennio Morricone ("Archaeopteryx") and Nino Rota ("Miller's Crake"), and the enchanted island sounds of Martin Denny ("Po'o'uli") and Les Baxter ("Solitaire"). Marc Ribot's singular guitar dominates, particularly on the scorching "Little Bittern," while Kenny Wollesen's effervescent vibes and Jamie Saft's percolating keyboard filigrees provide an array of kaleidoscopic euphony. Trevor Dunn's robust bass lines, Joey Baron's infectious drumming and Cyro Baptista's ingenious percussion accents provide the group with a solid rhythmic foundation that never wavers, lending the quicksilver tunes that dominate the album's final third a vivacious air.

Exploring a range of moods, the sextet invests these colorful miniatures with vibrant lyricism, elevating them beyond mere incidental music, making O'o a delightful, if unsurprising listen.

Track Listing: Miller's Crake; Akialoa; Po'o'uli; Little Bittern; Mysterious Starling; Laughing Owl; Archaeopteryx; Solitaire; Piopio; The Zapata Rail; Kakawahie; Magdalena.

Personnel: Marc Ribot: guitar; Jamie Saft: piano, organ; Kenny Wollesen: vibraphone; Trevor Dunn: bass; Joey Baron: drums; Cyro Baptista: percussion.

Title: O'o | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Tzadik

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Live Reviews
In Pictures
General Articles
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
General Articles
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Read more articles
 

Psychomagia

Challenge Jazz
2014

buy
 

The Hermetic Organ...

Challenge Jazz
2014

buy
 

Dreamachines

Challenge Jazz
2013

buy
 

The Mysteries

Challenge Jazz
2013

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
May17Fri
John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley
The Chapel
San Francisco, CA
May18Sat
John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley
The Chapel
San Francisco, CA

Related Articles

Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
Farallon
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019
Read Remembering Cecil Album Reviews
Remembering Cecil
By Dan McClenaghan
April 18, 2019
Read Apophenia Album Reviews
Apophenia
By Roger Farbey
April 18, 2019
Read Transcending the Sum Album Reviews
Transcending the Sum
By Chris May
April 17, 2019