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Friday, January 27, 2023

Composer John Zorn brings eight bands to Large Ears Pageant : NPR

John Zorn in efficiency in New York.

Jonathan Chimene/WBGO

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Jonathan Chimene/WBGO

John Zorn in efficiency in New York.

Jonathan Chimene/WBGO

Content material warning: This episode comprises specific language.

Trick query: How do you chronicle the artistic plenitude of John Zorn? It is a idiot’s errand, contemplating his physique of labor, which at the least resists categorization if not the very limits of description. Nonetheless, there’s copious perception, and no small quantity of delight, to be gained from a flash immersion in Zorn’s sonic world — an irresistible alternative that surfaced on the 2022 Large Ears Pageant, the place he shared his uncompromising imaginative and prescient in eight distinct musical settings.

“This isn’t leisure,” Zorn declared throughout an onstage interview on the pageant, emphatic as ever in his inventive intentions. However make no mistake: the capability crowds at Large Ears have been enthralled in addition to challenged by the array of sounds he put forth. They ranged from a solo piano recital, carried out by classical virtuoso Stephen Gosling, to the hybrid chamber-improv ensemble Heaven and Earth Magick (with Gosling churning within the combine).

Zorn was a galvanic presence even within the wings — throughout live shows by Simulacrum, a type of death-metal organ group; the Brian Marsella Trio, with its grooving piano; and Songs For Petra, that includes Petra Haden’s vocals and Jesse Harris’ lyrics and acoustic guitar. Elsewhere, the composer took on a visual position, conducting jump-cut cues for Chaos Magick or wielding his alto saxophone within the New Masada Quartet and, throughout an exhilarating finale, New Electrical Masada.

Amazingly, we’ll hear music from all the above on this episode of Jazz Night time in America, together with testimonials from guitarists Julian Lage and Invoice Frisell, Large Ears founder Ashley Capps — and naturally Zorn himself, who turns 70 this yr, a veritable icon with the timeless hearth of an iconoclast. He’ll be again at Large Ears this coming spring, for a seventieth birthday celebration that includes many of those similar fearless musicians and a handful of others.

“All my compositions are platforms to allow creativity,” says Zorn. “That is the underside line.” Jazz Night time is proud to seize a few of that artistic vitality, with full data that the duty, like Zorn’s bigger mission, will at all times be unfinished.


New Masada Quartet

John Zorn, alto saxophone; Julian Lage, guitar; Jorge Roeder, bass; Kenny Wollesen, drums

Songs for Petra

Petra Haden, vocals; Jesse Harris, acoustic guitar; Julian Lage, electrical guitar; Jorge Roeder, bass; Kenny Wollesen, drums

Brian Marsella Trio

Brian Marsella, piano; Trevor Dunn, bass; Kenny Wollesen, drums


Matt Hollenberg, guitar; John Medeski, organ; Kenny Grohowski, drums

Stephen Gosling

Stephen Gosling, piano

Chaos Magick

Matt Hollenberg, guitar; Brian Marsella, Fender rhodes; John Medeski, organ; Kenny Grohowski, drums

Heaven and Earth Magick

Sae Hashimoto, vibraphone; Stephen Gosling, piano; Jorge Roeder, bass; Ches Smith, drums

Electrical Masada

John Zorn, alto saxophone; Invoice Frisell, guitar; Julian Lage, guitar; John Medeski, organ; Brian Marsella, piano; Trevor Dunn, bass; Kenny Grohowski, drums; Ches Smith, drums

Set Checklist:

(All music composed John Zorn until famous)

  • “Tharsis”
  • “Kafiristan” (John Zorn, Jesse Harris)
  • “The Excessive Priestess”
  • “Danse Macabre”
  • “The Turner Etudes, VIII”
  • “Egregore”
  • “Casting the Runes”
  • “Hath-Arob”


Author: Nate Chinen; Producers: Alex Ariff, Nate Chinen, Trevor Smith; Editor: Trevor Smith; Mixing: Ron Scalzo, Katie Simon; Host: Christian McBride; Mission Supervisor: Suraya Mohamed; Vice President of Visuals and Technique at NPR Music: Keith Jenkins; Government Producers: Anya Grundmann and Gabrielle Armand.

Stay music recording: Matt Cowen, Matt Honkonen; Stay music mixing and remaining music combine: Marc Urselli.

Big due to the Large Ears crew: Government and Creative Director Ashley Capps and Managing Producer Mary Ho.

Shout out to the Bijou Theater crew in Knoxville — manufacturing supervisor Mischa Goldman and Government Director Courtney Bergmeier.

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