This is one of the best Zorn albums of all time. It's amazing. Electric Masada is a band of eight musicians --- two drummers, a percussion player, electric guitar, keyboards, bass guitar, Ikue Mori playing sound effects, and Zorn on saxophone. On this live set, they play well-known Masada songs, turning up the volume and stretching out the melodies. This CD is full of beautiful noise and improvisation. The second track is a wild, heavy metal version of klezmer that has to be heard to be believed. Other tracks drift from introspective sounds and gentle playing to high-speed chaos. It never really breaks apart into pure noise, but the threat is always there. Half of the time, the music is so gentle, it fades into the background. This album is the climax of a long series of klezmer experiments by John Zorn. He started with Masada as a traditional four-piece band, recording ten studio albums. Then he recorded new arrangements of the same songs with other ensembles. Then he put...
Potentially THE holy grail for the Downtown fanbase, John Zorn's "Electric Masada" has finally arrived. A live set, recorded during Zorn's 50th birthday celebration at NYC's premier new music venue; Tonic, merits most of the acclaim it will undoubtably get. Although all the tunes presented on "Electric Masada" have been performed by various aggregations over the years - from solo acoustic guitar renditions to full chamber sextet arrangements, they have never been performed as forcefully and sublimely as they are here. Zorn's electric version of his now famous acoustic Masada quartet is sort of an unholy cross between his own infamous post-modern super-group: Naked City and Miles Davis' (...) Brew era band, albeit playing their now well know Yiddish klezmer melodies. Stop-start, change on a dime transitions abound as well as long, drawn out groove sections featuring extended solos. Everything from Naked City inspired heavy metal/free jazz skronk to funky electric fusion on down to...
When I first heard John Zorn, I was a bit turned off by his styles. I use the plural, 'styles,' because he has so many different groups (naked city, masada, string trio, hemophiliac, etc.) that it would be an injustice to put Zorn into one specific category. After giving him another listen months later, I fell in love with much of his music, and this 'Electric Masada Birthday CD' is where I began.
This was recorded live at Tonic during the month of September '03 in celebration of Zorn's 50th birthday. The lineup is a who's-who of the downtown music scene - Zorn (alto sax), Marc Ribot (guitar), Jamie Saft (keys), Ikue Mori (laptop electronics), Trevor Dunn (bass), Joey Baron (drums), Kenny Wolleson (drums), and Cyro Baptista (percussion). Those who attend Zorn shows regularly at places like Tonic or The Stone will definitely recognize some of these names.
After hearing the wide scope of music Zorn is reponsible for, I can say for certain that this album is a...
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