Drawing inspiration from various Gnostic philosophies of the Nag Hammadi library, Transmigration of the Magus is a musical evocation of the mystical journey of the soul through the bardo. Lyrical and tender, the music has a lush orchestral sweep and features Bill Frisell and John Medeski reveling within the magical sonorities of vibraphones, bells and harps. Created to help the passing of Zorn’s dear friend Lou Reed through the bardo realms and released on the one year anniversary of his passing, Transmigration of the Magus is a memorial tribute to one of Zorn’s musical mentors and is one of his most touching and emotional projects—truly music of the angels.
Featuring the same magical Templar quartet from “In Sacred Blood”, “The Last Judgment” is the final CD in the remarkable Moonchild septology. This project has explored many different worlds in the past 8 years, and this CD takes a moody and lyrical approach with Medeski’s organ fully integrated into the band. Once again inspired by the legend of the powerful Knights Templar and their tragic demise under accusations of heresy in 1307, Zorn has composed a suite of pieces with a strong sense of continuity and emotional impact. Mike Patton draws on every vocal technique in his huge arsenal and the rhythm section of Dunn and Baron are tighter than ever. The last piece of the Moonchild puzzle—essential!
After over 40 years there is still no one who plays the sax quite like John Zorn. Using the instrument as sound maker, he commands a saxophone language of unmatched versatility. Collected under the enigmatic title of “The Classic Guide to Strategy,” five volumes were planned—“Volume 1” (1983), “Volume 2’ (1986), “Volume 3’ (2003) and now the penultimate “Volume 4” is finally made available on Tzadik. Filled with wit, drama, playfulness and intensity, the composer’s legendary virtuosity and powerful improvisational logic is on full display in this astonishing release recorded at EMPAC in early 2013. You have to hear it to believe it!
Get ready for a whole new approach to Masada music! Expressive and passionate, Basya Schecter, Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, Malika Zarra and Sofia Rei Koutsovitis are four of the most creative vocalists around. Each the leader of a dynamic band of their own, they come together here in an intimate a cappella setting to interpret eleven songs from Zorn's remarkable Book of Angels. With lyrics in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, French and Arabic drawn from Rumi, Fernando Pessoa, The Hebrew Bible and more, the Masada vocal project is perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful installments in the entire Angels series. Dynamic and evocative New Jewish Music from four powerful women vocalists!
For this very special release in The Book of Angels series, Zorn has brought together five of the most acclaimed musicians in modern jazz to perform nine of his most distinctive and lyrical compositions. Truly a jazz supergroup, these five master musicians explore Zorn's beautiful and exotic tunes with profound melodic and harmonic knowledge and a depth of feeling that is a joy to hear. One of the most breathtaking CDs in the entire Masada series—a touch of the sublime from the beautiful new Masada Quintet!
A fabulous and multifaceted suite celebrating the vibrant Italian dramatic form Commedia dell’arte that began in the 16th century and flourishes to this day. The classic archetypical characters Harlequin, Colombina, Scaramouch, Pulcinella and Pierrot are evoked in five compositional miniatures for small chamber ensembles: brass quintet, cello quartet, piano trio, vocal quartet and woodwinds. Premiered at the Guggenheim Museum in early 2016, the music contains some of Zorn’s finest writing and is a delight from first note to last. Over 20 of New York’s greatest musicians are involved in this exciting and varied suite of miniature masterpieces.
Drawing on his vast experience as viola player of the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble InterContemporain and his close collaboration with many of the today’s leading composers, Garth Knox has become a master of many styles. Presenting a completely new interpretation of the “Book of Angels”, the beautiful medieval-tinged arrangements produced by Garth Knox and his group capture the folk song quality of Zorn’s compositions with a lovely and intimate ensemble of strings and percussion. Playing viola and viola d’amore, Garth presents these enigmatic compositions in a new and refreshing light. This penultimate installment of the “Book of Angels” is also one of the most charmingly beautiful.
Spectacular arrangements of Masada compositions by mad alchemist Trey Spruance, mastermind of Secret Chiefs 3 and one of the most brilliant musicians around. Drawing upon an astonishing array of musical styles from Exotica and Surf to Ethiopian Funk and Gypsy Swing, Trey ’s colorful orchestral arrangements perfectly compliment the lyricism and dynamic rhythmic complexity of Zorn ’s evocative Book of Angels. Featuring some of the best musicians from the Bay Area, LA and Seattle scenes, this is one of the most compelling installments in the entire Masada series.
Volume 8 in the continuing Book of Angels series is an intimate and breathtaking recital by one of the world’s most accomplished cellists. A vital member of the Masada family from the very beginning, Erik Friedlander has hypnotized audiences both here and in Europe with his own bands Topaz, Broken Arm and Grains of Paradise. Stepping out in a special solo project, Erik shows off his remarkable technique in ten compositions from Zorn’s lyrical Book of Angels. This is Erik at his best. Rich, romantic, gripping music to both challenge and soothe the savage beast.