All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

421

John Zorn: The Crucible

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
John Zorn is not one to rest on his laurels. It is probably not possible for Zorn to rest, period. With The Crucible, the fourth installment of his Moonchild band, the saxophonist/composer delivers a recording that will be attractive to both hardcore metal and jazz fans.

Twenty years ago Zorn unleashed his band Naked City, its brand of noise/jazz/metal and predilection for musical violence a revelation. He had already shown, in his index card cues, a mix/match, start/stop method of composing; and a love for cartoon, film, and hardcore sounds that took shape in The Big Gundown (Tzadik, re-released 2000) and Spillane (Tzadik, re-released 1999). But it wasn't until Torture Garden (Shimmy Disc, 1989) and the self-titled Naked City (Nonesuch, 1989) that his vision was completely realized.

Naked City hit the senses and caused a protest like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie's bebop music of the 1940s. Its freakish hard-hitting amalgam of musics were short (songs tended to be less than a minute) sharp shocks.

Zorn moved on to other things. Many other things, including chamber and classical music, film composing, Masada jazz, larger ensemble improvisation, radical Jewish music, and more.

His work with the Moonchild trio—Mike Patton (former lead singer of the band Faith No More), drummer Joey Baron and bassist Trevor Dunn—has kept the hardcore flames burning. The group's output includes Moonchild (Tzadik, 2006), Astronome (Tzadik, 2006), and Six Litanies for Heliogabalus (Tzadik, 2007).

The Crucible adds Zorn himself on his siren alto, and a guest appearance by Marc Ribot on "9 x 9," a Led Zeppelin tribute that rocks out between the now-patented screams of Patton via Yamatsuka Eye.

Certainly the window dressing is the ferocity; between Baron's pulse and Dunn's thunder the direction of this music is quite turbulent. Add to that the Zorn trademark upper register screams and the severity is complete. But that is not the whole story here. The exchanges are crisp and the musicianship (no surprise here) is top rate. The band displays a gentle beauty in the excess that is this music. "Hobgoblin" almost swings as a call-and-response set and the creepy "Maleficia" is a recitation of evil acts that is as scary as a midnight blackout.


Track Listing: Almadel; Shapeshifting; Maleficia; 9x9; Hobgoblin; Incubi; Witchfinder; Initiate.

Personnel: Mike Patton: voice; John Zorn: alto saxophone; Marc Ribot: guitar; Trevor Dunn: bass; Joey Baron: drums.

Title: The Crucible | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Tzadik

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Introverted Cultures CD/LP/Track Review
Introverted Cultures
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Flyway CD/LP/Track Review
Flyway
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Crime Zone CD/LP/Track Review
Crime Zone
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Begin the Agora CD/LP/Track Review
Begin the Agora
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Time Like This CD/LP/Track Review
Time Like This
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "Lessons And Fairytales" CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Kill The Boy" CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Investigations" CD/LP/Track Review Investigations
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "The Nobuki Takamen Trio" CD/LP/Track Review The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 11, 2018
Read "Der Dichter Spricht" CD/LP/Track Review Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read "Mandala" CD/LP/Track Review Mandala
by Samuel Stroup
Published: December 20, 2017