Breaking News

Composer John Zorn delivers eight bands to Major Ears Festival : NPR

John Zorn in functionality in New York.

Jonathan Chimene/WBGO

conceal caption

toggle caption

Jonathan Chimene/WBGO

John Zorn in efficiency in New York.

Jonathan Chimene/WBGO

Material warning: This episode contains explicit language.

Trick question: How do you chronicle the creative plenitude of John Zorn? It really is a fool’s errand, looking at his physique of work, which at minimum resists categorization if not the very restrictions of description. Even now, there is certainly copious insight, and no small amount of money of enjoyment, to be attained from a flash immersion in Zorn’s sonic planet — an irresistible prospect that surfaced at the 2022 Large Ears Festival, wherever he shared his uncompromising vision in eight unique musical settings.

“This is not enjoyment,” Zorn declared all through an onstage job interview at the pageant, emphatic as at any time in his creative intentions. But make no error: the potential crowds at Huge Ears were enthralled as effectively as challenged by the array of appears he set forth. They ranged from a solo piano recital, done by classical virtuoso Stephen Gosling, to the hybrid chamber-improv ensemble Heaven and Earth Magick (with Gosling churning in the combine).

Zorn was a galvanic presence even in the wings — throughout concert events by Simulacrum, a sort of dying-metal organ team the Brian Marsella Trio, with its grooving piano and Music For Petra, showcasing Petra Haden’s vocals and Jesse Harris’ lyrics and acoustic guitar. Elsewhere, the composer took on a obvious function, conducting soar-lower cues for Chaos Magick or wielding his alto saxophone in the New Masada Quartet and, throughout a thrilling finale, New Electrical Masada.

Surprisingly, we’ll hear songs from all of the above in this episode of Jazz Night time in America, together with testimonials from guitarists Julian Lage and Invoice Frisell, Huge Ears founder Ashley Capps — and of training course Zorn himself, who turns 70 this 12 months, a veritable icon with the undying fire of an iconoclast. He’ll be back again at Massive Ears this coming spring, for a 70th birthday celebration featuring lots of of these identical fearless musicians and a handful of other people.

“All my compositions are platforms to permit creativeness,” claims Zorn. “That’s the bottom line.” Jazz Evening is happy to seize some of that resourceful electricity, with whole awareness that the activity, like Zorn’s more substantial mission, will normally be unfinished.


New Masada Quartet

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

Tracks for Petra

Petra Haden, vocals Jesse Harris, acoustic guitar Julian Lage, electric powered 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

Electric Masada

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

Set Record:

(All music composed John Zorn unless of course noted)

  • “Tharsis”
  • “Kafiristan” (John Zorn, Jesse Harris)
  • “The Superior 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 Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed Vice President of Visuals and Tactic at NPR New music: Keith Jenkins Government Producers: Anya Grundmann and Gabrielle Armand.

Live new music recording: Matt Cowen, Matt Honkonen Reside new music mixing and last audio combine: Marc Urselli.

Enormous thanks to the Massive Ears group: Government and Inventive Director Ashley Capps and Taking care of Producer Mary Ho.

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