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John Zorn

buckg

Member
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53
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North Carolina, USA
Maybe "Great Saxophone Players" is the wrong place for this. If so, I apologize and will gladly let the mods move it.

Anybody ever listen to John Zorn? What I've heard so far is quite unlistenable. Does he play anything musical? Or am I just not getting it?
 

Chris

Well Known
Café Supporter
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Manchester,England
Hi Buck, you could have a listen to this.

'Karaim' John Zorn

Might not be the best example, But I only listened as I did some backing tracks for another forum member who is into his music..

Chris..
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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brighton by the sea
Yup- I've got Naked City and a couple of Masada albums. he guy's actually got pretty good technique when he chooses to play straight.... for me his albums work on a different level to conventional music- its more about texture and intensity rather than cohrds and melody- its a bit like looking at an abstract painting & trying to work out what its a picture of...
 

DHM

Wrinkled retainer
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249
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West Midlands, UK
Yup- I've got Naked City and a couple of Masada albums. he guy's actually got pretty good technique when he chooses to play straight.... for me his albums work on a different level to conventional music- its more about texture and intensity rather than cohrds and melody- its a bit like looking at an abstract painting & trying to work out what its a picture of...

A good friend took me to http://www.barbican.org.uk/music/event-detail.asp?ID=14834 and I enjoyed pretty-much all of it. As a composer JZ has made a staggering range and variety of work.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
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Ilkley West Yorkshire
I've heard some interesting "jump cut" pieces with the guitarist Bill Frisell. I'm not sure I'd buy them though.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,303
Maybe "Great Saxophone Players" is the wrong place for this. If so, I apologize and will gladly let the mods move it.

Anybody ever listen to John Zorn? What I've heard so far is quite unlistenable. Does he play anything musical? Or am I just not getting it?

Your not looking well enough, he's fantastic. Amazing composer also. Does very great noir film type scores. His Jewish band stuff are awesome. I saw him years ago in Scotland. WOW
 

DaveT

Member
Messages
94
Locality
UK
Try 'Spy vs Spy' where he plays Ornette Coleman at Thrash Jazz speed.
When he's good he's very good, equally I heckled him in Hong Kong in 1994!
(he was extracting the michael as they say)
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
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1,264
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Edinburgh/Hot Rock off African Coast
Yerp so cool with awesome technique.
You just wouldn't want him as a nextdoor neighbor. Lol.
 

Pete Thomas

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Commercial Supporter
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15,443
Locality
St. Mary's
Maybe "Great Saxophone Players" is the wrong place for this.
Absolutely not the wrong place to post this. I do respect people's right to not enjoy/understand/appreciate free or avant garde music. But to me it makes more sense to make subjective rather than objective comments. I totally get "I don't like this" but I don't understand "this is crap"

I am kind of fascinated by this genre, problem is it's difficult to actually call it a genre. Many people just think it is loud relentless "squeaky bonk" whereas a lot of the "free" workshops and gigs I grew up with John Stevens, Maggie Nichols are anything but that, often very sparse quiet meditative.

The other interesting thing is that in mainstream jazz we can easily spot what may be described as wrong notes, out of tune. So this makes any kind of analytic or academic approach to a definition very very difficult.
If you go to a free jazz gig, how do you know whether it was a good gig or not?

Is it just this type of question that makes people dislike it I wonder? Perhaps it smacks of elitism because you have to be in on some kind of secret to understand it?

It has made me wonder whether (if we ever get to) at the next Cafe meet I might do a short presentation/workshop on freedom in music. Or maybe a few of us could get together to do something.
 
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Clivey

Well-Known Member
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1,264
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Edinburgh/Hot Rock off African Coast
Absolutely not the wrong place to post this. I do respect people's right to not enjoy/understand/appreciate free or avant garde music. But to me it makes more sense to make subjective rather than objective comments. I understand" I don't like this" but I don't understand "this is crap"

I am kind of fascinated by this genre, problem is it's difficult to actually call it a genre. Many people just think it is loud relentless "squeaky bonk" whereas a lot of the "free" workshops and gigs I grew up with John Stevens, Maggie Nichols are anything but that, often very sparse quiet meditative.

The other interesting thing is that in mainstream jazz we can easily spot what may be described as wrong notes, out of tune. So this makes any kind of analytic or academic approach to a definition very very difficult.
If you go to a free jazz gig, how do you know whether it was a good gig or not?

Is it just this type of question that makes people dislike it I wonder? Perhaps it smacks of elitism because you have to be in on some kind of secret to understand it?

It has made me wonder whether (if we ever get to) at the next Cafe meet I might do a short presentation/workshop on freedom in music. Or maybe a few of us could get together to do something.
I hope you guys do get the chance to have a bash at that.

re. free Jazz avant guarde whatever

I think that the whole "ingroup outgroup" tribal thingy comes into play a great deal of the time. i.e. without a tribal elders approval "it just won`t fly".

For as long as I can remember I have been turned on to the weird a strange by such elders who have pretty well always been musicians I have enjoyed listening to. Its never from anyone younger or contemporaries, they usually turn me on to someone that is actually quite fun or easy to listen to.

No offence intended but if one of the forum members posts a free piece here the chances are I won`t make to 90 seconds never mind the end, however if @altissimo or @Pete Thomas posted I would give it more due attention.



Mr Zorns sidemen are fantastic straight players so he's painting on canvas and not on a pebble dashed wall this keeps the whole thing just above the drowning point for me.

That really raises more questions than answers, such as. Does demonstrating circular breathing technique impress anyone these days when we can all get our hands on a wind controller and a myriad of synths hardware fx such as loopers and whammy boxes?
Does the piece evoke anger and annoyance in the listener and should this be a valid goal in non martial music genres. That's one of the big criticisms Rap, Trap, grime etc get all the time.

anyway the clips are fantastic. Marc Ribot is a legend
 

Jimmymack

Member
Messages
790
Locality
London
That’s a very good, considered post from Pete. I attended John Stevens workshops back in, I think, the 90s as well as a series of full day workshops over several years centred around Charles Mingus, which we performed as a large orchestra. The first half of the session, the morning, was based on John’s Search and Reflect teachings, in which we learned methods and practices related to free playing but essentially boiled down to things that any jazz musician should do, listening, feeling for space, harmonic awareness, playing with and against each other and responding to what you were hearing.

I’ve attended many jazz workshops, often led by well known pros, where this doesn’t come up and you know most people aren’t aware of it, even though they might think they are they’re certainly not doing it.
When people are directed to “play free” they always think it means play a lot of notes out of tune. Free music can be awful when it’s done by people who aren’t aware of the principles and methods, it can be sublime when done by people who are. One of the most memorable concerts I’ve ever been to was by the Howard Riley quartet where they conjured up exciting and evocative music on the spot. In case you think I’m a hard line free music lover another of my all times favourites was Santana, followed by Brecker and Branford Marsalis. These days I generally play straight forward, recognisable jazz.

Most people aren’t going to like free music, people should listen to whatever they want, and I don’t find I enjoy listening to many recordings of it, I think, for me, it needs to happen in the moment and I want to be there. But as a listener you also have to work at it, it isn’t a passive pastime.
 

Pete Thomas

Well-Known Member
Commercial Supporter
Messages
15,443
Locality
St. Mary's
but essentially boiled down to things that any jazz musician should do, listening, feeling for space, harmonic awareness, playing with and against each other and responding to what you were hearing.
Exactly!

Plus, the fact that you aren't worrying about bar lines, chord changes means you really can concentrate on listening to the collective sound of the others in the group and responding. You develop that skill or habit and can ultimately (if you want) then apply it to more "conventional" forms.

One memory for me is playing with guitarist Mark Hewins. One of his techniques was to do a special tuning on his guitar, then sit it down in a position that it would create feedback. Not your howling heavy rock feedback but a very gentle ethereal subtle and gradually changing sounds.

Another one is (pardon the namedropping) was when doing a workshop at a mental hospital. The free workshop was kind of music therapy. While doing it one of the patients (who looked very dishevelled) was sat in the corner with a set of bongoes playing them really quite well. I asked a nurse about him and she said, "oh yes, Spike Milligan - he often pops by and joins in with the music sessions.
 

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