All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

714

Masada Quintet Featuring Joe Lovano: Stolas: Book of Angels, Volume 12

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
John Zorn's Masada project has blossomed over the past decade and a half, demonstrating durability in the face of multiple interpretations. The composer's stated intention to create a classic songbook, a consistent body of written work to inspire artists beyond his own performances, has been fruitful. However, most of the variations on these Hassidic-inspired tunes have been made by peers and associates who record for Zorn's own Tzadik imprint. Stolas: Book of Angels, Volume 12 stands poised to break Zorn's Masada through to the traditional mainstream, courtesy of tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano.

A highly respected traditionalist, Lovano's inclusion in this Downtown super-group is something of a coup. Interpreting some of Zorn's most accessible and sublime compositions, Lovano is joined by a quartet of Masada veterans, including trumpeter Dave Douglas, pianist Uri Caine, bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Joey Baron. No stranger to these environs, Lovano has performed and recorded with Baron and Douglas before, most notably on Flights of Fantasy, Trio Fascination Volume Two (Blue Note, 2001).

Lovano's inside-outside sensibility is readily suited to handle Zorn's mercurial detours, yet this set eschews the composer's infamous extremism, focusing instead on lush themes and opulent melodies. Mature and restrained, the quintet's tasteful performances are splendid, their solos probing and lyrical, and the rhythm section tight and responsive.

Cohen's supple bass tone provides an unwavering foundation, while Baron contributes some of his most animated work, dominating every track he solos on—his pneumatic salvos on "Sartael" and "Serakel" are telling highlights. Caine's interpretations of Zorn's Yiddish themes best his own work in a similar vein; his blazing keyboard assault on "Sartael" provides dynamic contrast to the introspective ruminations of "Rigal."

Sparring and feinting with simmering intensity tempered by courteous restraint, Lovano and Douglas wax lyrical throughout this nuanced session. The expansive "Tagriel" demonstrates Lovano's expressive sensitivity with a smoldering extrapolation of hushed motifs, while Douglas unveils his most impressive solo of the date, an architecturally robust series of impassioned variations, brimming with harmonic and tonal invention.

Zorn makes a guest appearance on the dramatic "Rahtiel," almost stealing the show with his caterwauling alto. Amplifying the proceedings with his vociferous attack and ardent tone, he further proves that the original Masada Quartet could be far more capricious than the polite discourse this album suggests. Other than "Rahtiel," only the bristling, Ornettish free bop of "Sartael" invokes the primal frenzy of the original Quartet.

Calm, cool and collected, this is swinging modern jazz bolstered by congenial interplay and an exotic, Yiddish patina. Devoid of the histrionic fervor of Zorn's original Quartet recordings, Stolas: Book of Angels, Volume 12 is the Masada Songbook's most mainstream offering to date.


Track Listing: Haamiah; Rikbiel; Psisya; Sartael; Tashriel; Rahtiel; Tagriel; Serakel; Rigal.

Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Dave Douglas: trumpet; Uri Caine: piano; Greg Cohen: bass; Joey Baron: drums; John Zorn: alto saxophone (6).

Title: Stolas: Book of Angels, Volume 12 | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Tzadik

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
General Articles
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
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

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Genesis, Mystery And Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis, Mystery And Magic
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Komitas:  Seven Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Komitas: Seven Songs
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 7, 2018
Read "Kind Of New 2: Blue Is Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Kind Of New 2: Blue Is Paris
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Air Guitar" CD/LP/Track Review Air Guitar
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 14, 2018
Read "Karyobin" CD/LP/Track Review Karyobin
by John Eyles
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Blood & Bone" CD/LP/Track Review Blood & Bone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 5, 2018