The Squid's Ear Magazine

Zorn, John

New Masada Quartet

Zorn, John: New Masada Quartet (Tzadik)

John Zorn remakes his Masada Quartet with the new quartet of Kenny Wollesen on drums, Julian Lage on guitar, Jorge Roeder on bass, and the leader and composer himself on alto saxophone, the band having honed the elements of the Masada Songbook through live performance in NYC since 2019, here captured in Bill Laswell's studio in 2021 for 8 lyrically ecstatic recordings.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Kenny Wollesen-drums

John Zorn-alto saxophone

Julian Lage-guitar

Jorge Roeder-bass


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UPC: 702397838425

Label: Tzadik
Catalog ID: CD-TZA-8384
Squidco Product Code: 31292

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Orange Music,in West Orange, New Jersey, on June 8th, 2021, by James Dellatacoma.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"The long awaited first recording by John Zorn's newest and most exciting ensemble, the New Masada Quartet. Performing eight classic compositions from the Masada songbooks, NMQ is a tight unit of like-minded virtuosi and one of the best groups Zorn has ever had. Bristling hot guitar master Julian Lage, bass wizard Jorge Roeder and 30-year Zorn veteran Kenny Wollesen perform with a crackling live energy that brings the Masada music to life like never before! Led by Zorn's versatile sax and stop and start conducting, the music is filled with burning solos, telepathic group interaction, heartfelt lyricism and hypnotic grooves. Beautifully recorded at Bill Laswell's studio in New Jersey this is an absolute masterpiece. Essential!"-Tzadik


Artist Biographies

"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)
2/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"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)
2/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Julian Lage (born December 25, 1987) is an American jazz guitarist and composer.

A child prodigy, Lage was the subject of the 1997 documentary Jules at Eight. At 13, Lage performed at the 2000 Grammy Awards. At 15, Lage became a faculty member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University. Classically trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Lage has studied at Sonoma State University and the Ali Akbar College of Music. He graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 2008.

On March 24, 2009 Lage released his debut album Sounding Point on EmArcy Records, to favorable reviews. It was nominated for the 2010 Grammy Award Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Lage's second album, titled Gladwell was released April 26, 2011, to positive reviews. On March 2, 2015, Lage released his first solo acoustic album entitled World's Fair. On March 11, 2016, Lage released his fourth album as a leader, entitled Arclight.

As of 2017, Lage's trio features bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Lage also has duo projects with guitarists Chris Eldridge and Nels Cline."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Lage)
2/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Originally from Lima, Peru, bassist Jorge Roeder has become renowned as one of the most versatile and expressive bass players in jazz today. Combining a symphonic imagination with the intimate lyricism of a folk musician, the aggressive energy of a raw rocker with the buoyant rhythmic sensibilities of his Afro-Peruvian roots, Roeder conveys a wide spectrum of influences within a resolute foundation. In his hands, writes Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen, "the music feels like it's dancing from the ground up."

The stunning adaptability of Roeder's voice is evidenced by the diversity of his gifted collaborators. He has enjoyed long-standing partnerships with guitarist Julian Lage, whose music encompasses a panoramic sweep of Americana styles, and Argentinian vocalist Sofia Rei, an inventive songwriter and interpreter of melodies from various South American traditions. He is also a key member of Israeli pianist Shai Maestro's trio, which blends intricate complexity and ethereal elegance, as well as trombonist Ryan Keberle's politically charged ensemble Catharsis.

Roeder has also shared stages with such innovators as legendary vibraphonist Gary Burton, adventurous guitarist Nels Cline and iconoclastic composer/saxophonist John Zorn. His gifts have been recognized with a number of awards, including first prize at the 2007 International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition; semi-finalist placement in the 2009 Thelonious Monk Bass Competition; and a Grammy Award nomination for the debut album by the Julian Lage Group.

Despite his seemingly natural talents, Roeder began his life in music reluctantly. He would go on to enthusiastically study classical cello in Peru and Russia, hone his electric chops in Lima rock clubs, and delve into jazz at Boston's esteemed New England Conservatory. But it all began when his mother, on a whim, bought a guitar and signed the family up for lessons. Roeder's sisters soon dropped out; as the youngest sibling, Jorge failed to realize that saying 'no' was an option and persisted.

During his first guitar lesson Roeder's instructor challenged him to improvise, which the bassist recalls as a terrifying moment - but an adrenaline rush that he seeks to recreate to this day, relishing opportunities that place him in unfamiliar or unexpected situations. At the time, however, he simply froze and formed a dislike of the instrument that wasn't shaken until he began to play along with early 90s rock songs on the radio, figuring out ear-rattling hits by the likes of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

At the same time Roeder's high school became the first in Peru to institute a music pedagogy program, which the students took to excitedly. Out of 1200 students, 900 signed up for the music program; Roeder's first choice was the upright bass, but when he skipped the tryout to play soccer he was left with the choice of saxophone or cello. Figuring that his guitar lessons would better suit him for a stringed instrument he opted for the cello. The opportunity for the school orchestra to sit in with the Lima Philharmonic for a performance of Carl Orff's epic "Carmina Burana" gave Roeder his first taste of how powerful live music could be, finally setting him on the path to becoming a professional musician.

Two years after picking up the cello, Roeder was invited to pursue his classical studies at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the same time he had begun performing in local rock bands, tearing the frets from an old guitar to adapt it into a makeshift electric bass. During his senior year of high school he made the switch from cello to upright bass, and after his first experience sitting in with a big band formed by his peers, he knew what his future held: "I have to play upright bass," he recalls, "and I have to play jazz."

Roeder moved to Boston in 2002 with a scholarship to New England Conservatory, where he would study with such jazz greats as Danilo Pérez, Jerry Bergonzi, Dominique Eade, Bob Moses, Charlie Banacos, Cecil McBee, John Lockwood, and fellow Peruvian Oscar Stagnaro. While there, he made important connections with fellow students including pianist Dan Tepfer, saxophonist Dan Blake, and drummer Richie Barshay, who was also touring with Herbie Hancock. He also began collaborations with the only other Latin American students in the jazz department: pianist Gabriel Guerrero and vocalist Sofia Rei. As a founding member, artistic director and frequent producer of Rei's group, Roeder has explored a vast swath of South American folkloric music as well as the singer's own evocative songs.

In 2007 Roeder relocated to Brooklyn and soon forged two more profound collaborations. Crossing paths with the then 17-year old guitar prodigy Julian Lage while on an excursion to the West Coast, Roeder found himself with an intuitive partner with whom he could embark on a variety of divergent explorations. Their first recording together, the Julian Lage Group's 2009 debut Sounding Point, was nominated for the "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" Grammy. Since that time they've reconvened in duo and trio settings, most recently on Lage's 2019 Mack Avenue release Love Hurts with Bad Plus drummer Dave King, and in groups led by Gary Burton, John Zorn and Nels Cline.

Roeder met pianist Shai Maestro while both happened to be playing in Peru, then reconnected once they'd returned to New York. Having recently concluded his acclaimed tenure with the virtuosic Avishai Cohen, Maestro was used to playing with a bassist who could respond to any challenge with wit and audacity; in Roeder he found the same qualities, and in the pianist's alternately airy and exhilarating trio alongside drummer Ofri Nehemya, Roeder can be heard playing with both staggering athleticism and deep-rooted emotion.

Roeder's electric playing can be heard to soul-stirring effect in his work with trombonist Ryan Keberle's Catharsis, a band formed to respond to our tumultuous political times with inspirational vigor. He was also recently enlisted by the prolific John Zorn for a new project investigating the saxophonist's vast Masada songbook with Zorn, Lage, and drummer Kenny Wollesen.

With his boundless skills and searching curiosity, Roeder's music seems to forever be reaching towards a new horizon. He's absorbed the lessons of cerebral classical training, unbridled rock passion, and spontaneous jazz invention to form a singular voice on the bass, one that has placed him in the vanguard of modern jazz."

-Jorge Roeder Website (https://www.jorgeroeder.com/bio-1)
2/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Tharsis 10:27

2. Rigal 6:10

3. Hath Arob 5:11

4. Sansanah 8:35

5. Mibi 3:06

6. Kedushah 10:00

7. Tagriel 8:16

8. Piram 1:15

Related Categories of Interest:


Tzadik
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Zorn. John
Quartet Recordings
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
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