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John Zorn: The Song Project Vinyl Singles Edition [6 7" + 32 page booklet] (Tzadik)

In celebration of his 60th Birthday, Zorn asked his most acclaimed vocal collaborators to write lyrics to select compositions from his vast musical catalog, peformed by an all-star band of Zorn regulars, presented in a beautiful box set of 7" records and a 32-page book. ... Click to View


John Zorn: The Last Judgment (Tzadik)

Zorn's Templar Quartet of Mike Patton (voice), John Medeski (organ), Trevor Dunn (bass), and Joey Baron (drums), present the final CD of their Moonchild septology, emotional and wrenching music for the accusations of heresy charged against the medieval Knights Templar order. ... Click to View


Karl Berger: Gently Unfamiliar (Tzadik)

Pianist, vibraphonist, and composer Karl Berger presents his 2nd release in a trilogy of Tzadik CDs that started with the solo "Strangely Familiar", here in a trio with Joe Fonda on bass and Harvey Sorgen on drums, lyrical free bop jazz in 7 rich and distinctive movements. ... Click to View


The Thing With Thurston Moore: Live (The Thing Records)

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The Thing With Thurston Moore: Live [VINYL] (The Thing Records)

On tour for their album "Boot!", the Scandinavian free-jazz monsters of Mats Gustafsson (sax), Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Ingebrigt Haker Flaten (bass) teamed up with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth fame at London's Cafe OTO to produce some heavy improvised thunder. ... Click to View


Jaap Blonk / Damon Smith: Hugo Ball: Sechs Laut- Und Klanggedichte 1916 (Six Sound Poems, 1916) (Balance Point Acoustics)

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Schlippenbach Trio: First Recordings (Trost Records)

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Jonas Kullhammar : Gentlemen (Original Motion Picture Jazz Tracks) (Moserobie Music)

Saxophonist Jonas Kullhammar leads various groupings of Carl Bagge on piano, Torbjorn Zetterberg on bass, Johan Holmegard on drums, Bernt Rosengren on sax, Goran Kajfes on cornet & Mattias Stahl on vibes in this soundtrack album for the motion picture "Gentlemen". ... Click to View


Mathias Landaeus : Into Life (Moserobie Music)

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The Wire: #370 December 2014 [MAGAZINE] (The Wire)

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Jonas Kullhammar : Gentlemen (Original Motion Picture Jazz Tracks) [VINYL 2 LPs + CD] (Moserobie Music)

Saxophonist Jonas Kullhammar leads various groupings of Carl Bagge on piano, Torbjorn Zetterberg on bass, Johan Holmegard on drums, Bernt Rosengren on sax, Goran Kajfes on cornet & Mattias Stahl on vibes in this soundtrack album for the motion picture "Gentlemen". ... Click to View


Mathias Landaeus : Into Life [VINYL] (Moserobie Music)

Pianist Mathias Landaeus leads his trio with Johnny Aman on bass and Jonas Holgersson on drums through five original pieces, a mazurka by Chopin, and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", an eclectic take on the piano trio blending modern techniques with both traditional and creative compositions. ... Click to View


Zu & Eugene Robinson: The Left Hand Path [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Zu reveals their dark side with Jacopo Battaglia & Thomas Luca Mai performing on electronics and Massimo focused on guitars, plus guest Luca Tilli on cello; the recordings were sent to Oxbow's Eugene S Robison, resulting in this mysterious and disturbing release. ... Click to View


Pierre-Yves Martel : Continuum (Tour de Bras)

A solo work from Pierre-Yves Martel performing two works for the viola da gamba, bringing this fretted renaissance-era ancestor to the violin into the 21st century through two slowly evolving and sonically fascinating pieces. ... Click to View


The Sands: Beast To Bone (Self Released)

Singer/songwriter Julie McGeer leads a band of some of Western Canada's foremost players from the jazz and indie scene including Peggy Lee, JP Carter, Paul Rigby, Cole Schmidt, Darren Parris & Barry Mirochnik in an embraceable album combining jazz, indie pop and folk roots. ... Click to View


Ghedalia Tazartes : Hysterie Off Music [VINYL] (Holidays Records)

A remaster and reissue of Ghedalia Tazartes' 2000 release, an uncompromising clash of field recordings, sampled instruments and Tazartes' incomparable vocal eclecticism, made of emotional psalms and shamanic hymns. ... Click to View


Joe Morris: Mess Hall (Hatology)

Dark, edgy and superb electric guitar work from Joe Morris in a trio with Stave Lantner on electric keyboard and Jerome Deupree on drums, the final part of what Morris calls "Big Loud Electric Guitar Trilogy" that started with "Sweatshop" and "Racket Club", following the Hendrix legacy. ... Click to View


Luzia Von Wyl Ensemble: Frost (Hatology)

Swiss pianist/composer Luzia von Wyl and her Ensemble of jazz and classical performers presents von Wyl's compositions that borrow from modern and early jazz, chamber music and world sources, in works that draw on her experiences traveling and performing through the world. ... Click to View


Karlheinz Stockhausen : Mantra (performed by Mark Knoop, Roderick Chadwick and Newton Armstrong) (Hat [now] ART)

Stockhausen's late 60s composition "Mantra" was a return to his intricately systematised approach to musical construction, expanding the possibilities and potentialities of the serial principle to allow for more melodic and embraceable compositions. ... Click to View


Liza Lim: Orchestral Works (Hat [now] ART)

Composer Liza Lim presents 3 lesser known works: "The Compass" for orchestra with solo parts for flute and didgeridoo; "Pearl, Ochre, Hair String" featuring a cello solo using a guiro bow; and "The Guest" written for recorder soloist Jeremias Schwarzer. ... Click to View


Jean-Luc Guionnet & Eric La Casa: Home: Handover [4 CD SET] (Potlatch)

Jean-Luc Guionnet and Eric La Casa in a work for the Uninstal Festival interviewing inhabitants of Glasgow in their home spaces, the results organized into compositions blending spoken word, music, improvisation and field recordings; each CD unveils the process of the composition. ... Click to View


Surruralist(e)s, The/Le: Sortablue (Tour de Bras)

The duo of Arthur Bull on guitars & harmoia and Eric Normand on electric bass and tenor banjo, and both on voice, taking on American rural songs--delta blues, cajun music, and Quebecois laments, &c--with a modern eye and a good sense of humor. ... Click to View


Magda Mayas / Damon Smith / Tony Buck: Spill Plus (Nuscope)

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Paul Dunmall Sextet: Life in Four Parts (FMR)

Recorded for his 60th birthday celebrations, this all star recording includes Mike Fletcher (sax, bagpipes), Percy Pursglove (trumpet), Mike Hurley (piano/organ), Chris Mapp (bass) and Mark Sanders (drums) plus special quests Simon hall (bass trombone) and Bethan Jones (bass drum). ... Click to View


Deep Whole Trio (Dunmall / Rogers / Sanders): That Deep Calling (FMR)

The UK trio of Paul Dunmall on saxophone, Paul Rogers on bass and Mark Sanders on drum, performing live at the Lamp Tavern in Birmingham, 2013, for three extended free improvisations of masterful playing. ... Click to View


Riverloam Trio: Inem Gortn (FMR)

An international trio bringing together Polish saxophonist Mikolaj Trzaska with Brits Olie Brice on bass and Mark Sanders on drums, passionate free improvisation in an Ayler/Brotzmann vein, in 8 absorbing and concise pieces recorded in the studio. ... Click to View


Vincente / Pinheiro / Faustino / Franco: Clocks And Clouds (FMR)

Referencing Ligeti's composition of the same name, Portuguese trumpeter Luis Vicente is joined by 2/3 of the RED Trio--Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano) & Hernani Faustino (bass)-- along with drummer Marco Franco, to record an album of lively collective improvisation of great skill. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmall / Paul Rogers / Philip Gibbs: The Clouds Turned Silver (FMR)

A trio of frequent collaborators--Paul Dunmall on flute, soprano sax & bass clarinet, Philip Gibbs on guitar and Paul Rogers on bass--performing live at the Victoria Rooms in Briston, 2013 for four extended melodic, interactive and far-ranging free improvisations. ... Click to View


Geoff Warren: The Quartet Album (FMR)

Focusing on the flute, Geoff Warren's quarter with Raffaele Pallozzi (piano), Marco Di Marzio (bass) and Walter Caratelli (drums) present an impressive melodic and informed album of contemporary jazz quoting Roland Kirk, Soft Machine, folk music and much more. ... Click to View


Thomas Heberer / Pascal Niggenkemper : Miner's Pick (FMR)

Astute improvisations using extended language from the duo of Thomas Heberer (ICP) on cornet and Pascal Niggenkemper on double bass, two European free improvisers based in New York and pushing the limits of the improvised duo in accessible ways. ... Click to View


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John Zorn 
First Recordings 1973  
(Tzadik (1995)) 

review by Phil Zampino
2003-08-20
John Zorn: First Recordings 1973 (Tzadik (1995))

A very young John Zorn peers out from the cover of First Recordings 1973 implying that these recordings are the work of a precocious young man destined to become an important figure in jazz and improvised music. This may color the perception of the release, which in fact are the early recordings of a 19- and 20-year-old, sitting at home or working on his college projects. I'd imagine Zorn snickers a bit at that cover, or the picture on the back showing him as a nerdish young man playing guitar, an instrument with which he's not well associated.

Still there must have been something happening in the young mind of this musical innovator, because at the age of 19 Zorn's conception of sound and his ability to embrace a vast conceptual realm are as impressive as they are dichotomous and strange. Which translates to "you might not like this a lot, but if you're a fan, you will be fascinated." None of the two large and three shorter recordings on this disc are incredible in either their ability to captivate or in their overall sound quality. Zorn himself points out that one piece is a "strange, akward tribute" to one of the musical figures he revered (Albert Ayler), and on another that his vocals are "perhaps too revealing" while noting that his parents had him under observation at a psychiatric clinic from ages 8 to 16. There is something seething in these recordings, and perhaps his parents had no way of coping with the creative energy that was to be unleashed.

The first work on the cd, "Mikhail Zoetrope," is from 1974, and was recorded by Zorn in his bedroom. He describes it as the craziest piece he's ever written, and it's not difficult to believe it. Recorded in two passes, first on the left channel and then the right, it shows Zorn improvising with toy percussion, glasses, pots and pans, a cassette player, turntable, TV set, vacuum cleaner, and of course a sopranosax. The piece is an uneasy call-and-response utilizing concepts ranging from Braxton to Cage to Kagel. The soprano playing is distinctively Zorn, and the quirky instrumentation invokes years of squawking, screaming, tinkling and indescribable noise to come. At 22 minutes for the first part alone this is no passing fancy, but a serious work that may not completely come together, but certainly has a lot to say.

"Conquest of Mexico" from 1973 is another thing altogether, the remaining scraps of a musique concrète composition that functioned as the basis for a soundtrack to the filmed version of a "happening" Zorn organized in his last year at college in St. Louis. This piece was augmented at presentation with a live improvising ensemble, but here is presented as a raw series of electronic tone experiments, using psychedelic effects. What is notable, aside from being an early “filmwork,” is that Zorn utilized the same punch-in approach to composing the piece as he was to use later in such pieces as Spillane, Godard, and The Big Gundown. Difficult to listen to on its own, but perhaps telling as the one of the influences is Antonin Artaud, an innovate yet clinically institutionalized surrealist theater figure from France in the 1920's. This no doubt would make Zorn's parents just a bit more uneasy post-observation.

The remaining three pieces "Wind Ko/la," "Automata of Al-Jazari" and "Variations on a Theme by Albert Ayler/Requiem for Albert" present respectively "a little song" as Zorn intones into the mic; a one-minute piece that genre-hops every bar with film quotes interspersed; and a somewhat meandering tribute to Ayler that includes early sax work with electronic mayhem and a panoply of relatively crude studio effects noteable again for the breadth of ideas and the shadow of what was to come.





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