The Squid's Ear Magazine


Zorn, John Simulacrum: Spinoza (Tzadik)

John Zorn composes for, conducts and plays saxophone with his Simulacrum group with Kenny Grohowski on drums, Matt Hollenberg on guitar and John Medeski on organ & electric piano, a scorching band that combines Downtown NY jazz and metal forms as they explore the life and thoughts of Dutch 17th century Age of Enlightenment philosopher Baruch Spinoza.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



John Zorn-saxophone, composer, conductor

Kenny Grohowski-drums

Matt Hollenberg-guitar

John Medeski-organ, electric piano


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UPC: 702397838821

Label: Tzadik
Catalog ID: CD-TZA-8388
Squidco Product Code: 31683

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at East Side Sound, in Brooklyn, New York, on November 27th, 28th and 29th, 2021, by Marc Urselli.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Spinoza is Zorn's latest creation for the searing jazz-metal trio Simulacrum'perhaps the most extreme organ trio ever. Inspired by the life and thought of one of the world's greatest philosophers he has composed two extended concerti: one for guitar genius Bill Frisell, and another featuring himself on saxophone. The musical mosaic flows seamlessly from one world to another, touching upon heavy metal, jazz, minimalism, atonality, noise, ambient moods, funk, and so much more. A musical vision as radical as the philosophy of Spinoza himself, this is one of Zorn's greatest recent works'an essential and exhilarating project as powerful as it is sensitive. Cinema for the ears!"-Tzadik



"Baruch (de) Spinoza[b] (24 November 1632 - 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardic Jewish origin. One of the foremost exponents of 17th-century Rationalism and one of the early and seminal thinkers of the Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism including modern conceptions of the self and the universe, he came to be considered "one of the most important philosophers-and certainly the most radical-of the early modern period." Inspired by the groundbreaking ideas of René Descartes, Spinoza became a leading philosophical figure of the Dutch Golden Age. Spinoza's given name, which means "Blessed", varies among different languages. In Hebrew, his full name is written ברוך שפינוזה‎. In the Netherlands he used the Portuguese name Bento.[clarification needed] In his works in Latin, he used the name Benedictus de Spinoza.

Spinoza was raised in the Spanish-Portuguese-Jewish community in Amsterdam. He developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the nature of the Divine. Jewish religious authorities issued a herem (חרם‎) against him, causing him to be effectively expelled and shunned by Jewish society at age 23, including by his own family. Shortly after his death his books were added to the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books. He was frequently called an "atheist" by contemporaries, although nowhere in his work does Spinoza argue against the existence of God.

Spinoza lived an outwardly simple life as an optical lens grinder, collaborating on microscope and telescope lens designs with Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens. He turned down rewards and honours throughout his life, including prestigious teaching positions. He died at the age of 44 in 1677 from a lung illness, perhaps tuberculosis or silicosis exacerbated by the inhalation of fine glass dust while grinding lenses. He is buried in the Christian churchyard of Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague.

Spinoza's magnum opus, the Ethics, was published posthumously in the year of his death. The work opposed Descartes' philosophy of mind-body dualism and earned Spinoza recognition as one of Western philosophy's most important thinkers. In it, "Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely". Hegel said, "The fact is that Spinoza is made a testing-point in modern philosophy, so that it may really be said: You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all." His philosophical accomplishments and moral character prompted Gilles Deleuze to name him "the 'prince' of philosophers". "-Wikipedia


Get additional information at Wikipedia

Artist Biographies

"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)
5/28/2024

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

"Brought up in a musical household in Miami, 29-year-old drummer, Kenny Grohowski has been performing since the age of 14. His rich musical background is demonstrated through the growing list of his collaborators and guest artists, including Vernon Reid, Corey Unger (of Blood Has Been Shed), Emeline Michel, Peter Cincotti, Jorge Sylvester, Bobby Sanabria, Bill T. Jones, Rory Stuart, Cassandra Wilson, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, Giovanni Hidalgo, John Benitez, Francis Mbappe, Domingo Quinones, and Bobby Valentin.

Grohowski has been a member of bassist Lonnie Plaxico's band since 2003, and a member of Andy Milne's Dapp Theory since 2006, having come back from a successful US/Canada tour with Dapp Theory, with Highlight shows in Vancouver opening for Jazz and Bass legend, Stanley Clarke, and performed in the 2007 Latin Grammy Awards Live from Madison Square Garden with the award winning group RBD. He has appeared on several recordings, including Plaxico's hit "So Alive" [Sony, Japan]. As of 2009, Grohowski has become a new member of acclaimed Haitian singer/cultural figure Emeline Michel's Accoustic Quintet, and has also performed at the Museum of Modern Art with the Ze Luis Quartet as part of their Live Art performances. Grohowski has also toured across the United States, South America, and Europe, as well as in Australia and China with New Classical Composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (a.k.a. DBR). Kenny has also performed regularly with acclaimed bassist Felix Pastorius and his group since 2010, performing regularly at such New York City venues as Zinc Bar and The 55 Bar. Recently, Grohowski has written and recorded for Grammy Award winning Producer and Arranger Victor "Papo" Ortiz on the album "Eres Santo".

When not working with his various affiliated ensembles, Grohowski enjoys a steady and fast paced Free lancing schedule, working with many of New York City's top Jazz, Rock, and Brazilian artists, as well as a multitude of others, and has recorded on over 40 albums. [...]"

-Kenny Grohowski Website (http://kennygrohowski.com/about/)
5/28/2024

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

Guitarist Matt Hollenberg was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a member of iNFiNiEN, Cleric, Cetus, and has performed with John Frum. He studied Liberal arts at Community College of Philadelphia, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

-Matt Hollenberg Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/matt.hollenberg.5/about?lst=1389755694%3A815073819%3A1510010637§ion=education&pnref=about)
5/28/2024

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

"Anthony John Medeski (born June 28, 1965) is an American jazz keyboards player and composer. Medeski is a veteran of New York's 1990s avant-garde jazz scene and is known popularly as a member of Medeski Martin & Wood. He plays the acoustic piano and an eclectic array of keyboards, including the Hammond B3 organ, melodica, mellotron, clavinet, ARP String Ensemble, Wurlitzer electric piano, Moog Voyager Synthesizer, Wurlitzer 7300 Combo Organ, Vox Continental Baroque organ, and Yamaha CS-1 Synthesizer (a "kids' toy"), among others. When playing acoustic piano, Medeski usually plays the Steinway piano and is listed as a Steinway Artist.

Medeski was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and grew up in Florida. After studying piano as a child (starting when he was five years old), he began as a teenager to perform with musicians such as Mark Murphy and Jaco Pastorius. He attended Pine Crest School. In 1983, after graduating from high school, he began studying piano at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he performed as a sideman with Dewey Redman, Billy Higgins, Bob Mintzer, Alan Dawson and Mr. Jellybelly. Medeski attributes his early interest in playing improvised music and jazz to listening to Oscar Peterson."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Medeski)
5/28/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. Immanence 22:12

2. Spinoza 20:00

Related Categories of Interest:


Tzadik
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Zorn. John
Quartet Recordings
New in Rock Forms

Search for other titles on the label:
Tzadik.


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