Born in Tel Aviv, multi-instrumentalist Koby Israelite has been playing music since the age of nine. Conservatory trained on piano and keyboards, he was drawn to punk and heavy metal as a teenager, switched to drums and then got turned on to Jazz, World Music and the Downtown Scene. For his third Tzadik CD, this tireless and ever creative musical spirit turns his hand to the complex lyricism of Zorn’s complex Book of Angels. Interpreting tunes handpicked by Zorn himself, Koby mixes in everything he knows, including metal, jazz, gypsy and klezmer with stylish flair and great virtuosity. Naked City, Zappa, Taraf de Haidouks and Fantomas all rolled into one, this is an amazing orchestral achievement by an exciting young musical adventurer.
Working together since 1978, the partnership of Zorn and Frith is one of the most enduring musical partnerships in the downtown scene. Their periodic duo concerts have always been special events in themselves, but when it happens in celebration of Zorn's 50th Birthday, it takes on even greater meaning. Two masters of improvisation meet head to head in the redhot crucible of Tonic for an hour of telepathic communication and exploration, and you are there.
A spectacular presentation of eleven new compositions from Zorn’s Book of Angels by two passionate virtuosos whose work together is never less than perfection itself. Contextualizing the music into a classical recital for violin and piano, this is the chamber music of the future. Exciting and breathtaking, Mark and Sylvie have put together a program filled with imagination, lyricism and an intense energy. New Jewish music by one of the greatest violin/piano pairings ever. This is a whole new all-encompassing direction for classical music.
From its first manic blast, it's clear that Masada, Vol. 10: Yod is going to be one of John Zorn and company's wildest, most confident works. It's also one of the most accessible, though that's hardly a safe recommendation: like all of the Masada series' works, Yod is not a friendly listen. The middle section of the album, though, with its gentle, hypnotic pace, offers a reprieve from the intensity of the other compositions. What continues to impress in this, their tenth release, is the group's relentless energy and the sheer brilliance of their interplay. The incredibly visceral soloing of Zorn and Dave Douglas, the mesmerizing, exotic pulse: all are the trademarks of one of jazz's greatest units, a group practically exploding with talent and ideas.
"49 Acts of Unspeakable Depravity in the Abominable Life and Times of Gilles de Rais" is the fifth CD by Simulacrum, an organ trio of unparalleled power that brings the sounds of heavy metal, blues, funk and jazz together with modern classical music. Tighter than ever and able to stop and start at breakneck speed, Medeski, Hollenberg and Grohowski are at their raging best as they blaze through Zorn’s wildest flights of fancy—a ten-movement suite evoking a sick and decadent descent into madness. Driven by an intense and powerful fury, this CD contains some of the craziest sounds you are ever likely to hear as genres, noise, instrumental colors and driving rhythms collide head-on. A jaw-dropping visit to a new musical world where absolutely anything is possible!
With its keen balance between the form and freedom, cogent solos, and forward momentum, John Zorn's Masada series is without a doubt his most musically sound and rewarding output of this decade. On Tet, Zorn and his cohorts continue to successfully juxtapose Jewish folk melodies with modal grooves and harmelodic labyrinths.
Recorded four months after the fragmented loose ends of Masada, Vol. 7: Zayin, Masada seems to be settling into a new – perhaps mature or more conventional – phase with Masada, Vol. 8: Het. The frantic frenzy that drove its early releases is largely reined in, a couple of actual ballads sneak in the repertoire, and there are some solos by John Zorn or Dave Douglas with just the rhythm section instead of their usual countermelody exchanges. "Shechem" opens with very loose-limbed, Ornette Coleman-influenced free bop, with the two horns playing off Joey Baron's light tom-tom touch before Zorn takes a very melodic, flowing soloing on his own until organically handing it off to Douglas.
Masada's seventh volume sounds almost like an odds-and-sods collection. It's a more fragmentary and disparate disc that doesn't have much musical middle ground – the extremes between the group's atonal free improv bursts and its more melodic or atmospheric pieces are very pronounced. "Shevet" has a more overt klezmer influence and almost timbales tones from Joey Baron, while the segmented "Hath-Arob" is very Ornette Coleman-like before breaking down into free-blow sections.
As John Zorn’s most popular project reaches its tenth year, Tzadik celebrates the Masada songbook with a series of all-star tributes. Following Masada Guitars, Volume 2 is an eclectic and powerful collection of almost two dozen Masada classics artfully arranged by some of the downtown scene’s most creative performers. Zorn’s catchiest and most lyrical tunes performed by rock bands, klezmer groups, vocalists, jazz.
Recorded at the Power Station in New York in 1995, Masada, Vol. 6 Vav continues Masada's convincing union of Eastern European and Middle Eastern modalities with the freer, post-bop aspects of jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman. John Zorn's writing is particularly focused and well-informed, full of serpentine lines, mixed meters, and sudden shifts in tempo, while leaving plenty of room for collective and individual improvisation. The ensemble and the individual playing are uniformly superb throughout. Like much of Zorn's work, Vav exists in several simultaneous dimensions.