John Zorn's Gnostic Trio of Bill Frisell on guitar, Carol Emanuel on harp and Kenny Wollesen on vibes and chimes, perform Zorn's compositions inspired by the classic novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" in lyrical chamber jazz of great depth and nuance.
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Catalog ID: TZA-CD-8344
Squidco Product Code: 22309
Recorded at EastSide Sound, in New York City, New York on December 8th - 10th, 2015, by Marc Urselli.
Kenny Wollesen-vibraphone, chimes
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1. Scout 4:14
2. Riverrun 4:37
3. Child's Play 5:07
4. Porch Swing 4:55
5. Innocence 7:14
6. Pegasus 4:18
7. A Mystery 7:04
8. The Mockingbird 5:46
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
New in Improvised Music
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sample the album:
"Featuring the magical sonorities of Bill Frisell's guitar in a heavenly tapestry of harp and vibraphone, the Gnostic Trio is one of the most sublime ensembles in Zorn's ever-expanding universe. Their sixth CD is their best yet, and presents gorgeous and intimate chamber music touching upon themes of innocence, adventure, childhood and longing that unfold like an exotic flower. Inspired by the charming character Scout from the American classic "To Kill A Mockingbird" and tempered by a folk-like simplicity, Zorn and company spins a hypnotic web of melodic beauty to soothe the restless spirit."-Tzadik
"This album was inspired by the character Scout from the classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird and shows John Zorn's compositions at their most subtle and graceful, floating across the divide between literature and music. The trio has become a regular group that Zorn has convened to interpret some of his more understated compositions, featuring Carol Emanuel on harp, Bill Frisell on guitar and Kenny Wollesen on vibraphone and chimes.
"Scout" opens the album with shimmering vibes which are met with some snarling guitar sounds (Zorn always brings out the best in Frisell) and there is a near chamber sound to some of the music, like on "Riverrun" where the harp glistens and the chimes twinkle, before things take a darker turn, hammering sounds and then pulling back to show their dynamic muscle. The milder "Child's Play" builds through Wollesen's melodious ringing sounds, which take center stage as guitar and harp hold back. He develops an interesting rhythm his own for this entire piece. Gentle guitar that sounds like it may come from an old time ballad opens "Porch Swing" and that deep emotional feeling that Frisell is able to conjure deepens the emotional resonance of the music as the harpist gently orbits around with gentle strums and the vibes further frame the music. Wollesen makes his mallets spritely dance as the trio joins together for the conclusion.
There is a sweet and haunting melody to "Innocence" that the trio builds louder chiming together, then like a fairy tale gone wrong, the music turns progressively darker and spectral, as the heavy handed vibes become more urgent in their tone. "A Mystery" is a great track and really lives up to its title by having a quiet unsettled aura before Wollesen comes in with heavy clangs and lashes of metallic vibes sounding like the cry for help of a lost soul that deepens the mystery even further. His excellent playing allows the music to cover a range of emotion, and the wailing sound of the vibes and electric guitar is head filling and unforgettable.
There is a lighter and defter movement to the music on "The Mockingbird" and while the vibes stay urgent to give the music a propulsive forward movement, the harp and guitar are in fine mettle. As the hard vibes ring out, taut guitar moves in with glistening harp to develop fine concluding textures. This is their sixth album and one of their best, presenting quiet and subtle music touching upon themes of hope and fear, sadness and courage with great tact and dignity."-Tim Niland, Music and More
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• Show Bio for John Zorn
"John Zorn (born September 2, 1953) is an American composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist, and multi-instrumentalist with hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, and producer across a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore, classical, surf, metal, klezmer, soundtrack, ambient, and improvised music. He incorporates diverse styles in his compositions which he identifies as avant-garde or experimental. Zorn was described by Down Beat as "one of our most important composers".
Zorn established himself within the New York City downtown music movement in the mid-1970s performing with musicians across the sonic spectrum and developing experimental methods of composing new music. After releasing albums on several independent US and European labels, Zorn signed with Elektra Nonesuch and received wide acclaim with the release of The Big Gundown, an album reworking the compositions of Ennio Morricone. He attracted further attention worldwide with the release of Spillane in 1987, and Naked City in 1989. After spending almost a decade travelling between Japan and the US he made New York his permanent base and established his own record label, Tzadik, in the mid-1990s.
Tzadik enabled Zorn to maintain independence from the mainstream music industry and ensured the continued availability of his growing catalog of recordings, allowing him to prolifically record and release new material, issuing several new albums each year, as well as promoting the work of many other musicians. Zorn has led the hardcore bands Naked City and Painkiller, the klezmer/free jazz-influenced quartet Masada, composed over 600 pieces as part of the Masada Songbooks that have been performed by an array of groups, composed concert music for classical ensembles and orchestras, and produced music for opera, sound installations, film and documentary. Zorn has undertaken many tours of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, often performing at festivals with many other musicians and ensembles that perform his diverse output.
Zorn's compositions cross many genres and he has stated "All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I'm an additive person-the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can't see the connections, but they are there." For Zorn "Composing is more than just imagining music-it's knowing how to communicate it to musicians. And you don't give an improviser music that's completely written out, or ask a classical musician to improvise. I'm interested in speaking to musicians in their own languages, on their own terms, and in bringing out the best in what they do. To challenge them and excite them." "-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Zorn)
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• Show Bio for Kenny Wollesen
"Kenny Wollesen (born 1966) is an American drummer and percussionist.
Wollesen lives in New York City. He has recorded and toured with Tom Waits, Sean Lennon, Ron Sexsmith, Bill Frisell, Norah Jones, John Lurie, Myra Melford, Steven Bernstein, and John Zorn. He is a founding member of the New Klezmer Trio and a member of the Sex Mob and Himalayas groups. He also performs on the soundtrack to the popular children's show The Backyardigans.
Kenny grew up in Capitola, CA, studying at Aptos HS and spent many teenage years jamming with Donny McCaslin. He spent quality classroom time with flugelhornist and arranger Ray Brown at Cabrillo College. Kenny also arranges and studied vibraphone at Cabrillo."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Wollesen)
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