The future of Zorn’s Masada Book Two
Every time I talk about it, I’ll state that Masada Book Two is one of the best series on John Zorn’s Tzadik label. The quick premise: One page of music in a book of 300+ tunes, given to others to interpret and record.
Who has done it so far (bold being my faves so far): Jamie Saft Trio, Masada String Trio, Mark Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier, Koby Israelite, The Cracow Klezmer, Uri Caine, Marc Ribot, Erik Friedlander, Secret Chiefs 3, Bar Kokhba Sextet, Medeski Martin & Wood, Masada Quintet featuring Joe Lovano, Mycale, The Dreamers, Ben Goldberg Quartet, Masada String Trio, and Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of the Spirits.
All seventeen thus far as stupendous releases… you can’t go wrong, especially if you love improvisational jazz and klezmer. Listen: Amazon search page.
Good Aural blog posted the following yesterday:
According to John Zorn, Tzadik records will release about four—possibly five—more Masada Book Two albums in 2012. It’s amazing to think that we’ll be hearing volumes 18, 19, 20, 21, and maybe even 22 of Zorn’s Book of Angels by the end of next year.
Want a preview of who’ll be playing on these upcoming volumes? Here are the new Book of Angels releases planned for 2012:
New Klezmer Trio
Clarinetist Ben Goldberg is a pioneer in avant-garde Jewish music. His New Klezmer Trio released their first album, Masks and Faces, in 1992; it was reissued on Tzadik in 1996. New Klezmer Trio has since released several more albums on Tzadik: Melt Zonk Rewire and Short for Something.
In 2010 Goldberg recorded Baal: the Book of Angels vol. 15 with Masada book veterans Greg Cohen, Jamie Saft, and Kenny Wollesen. This new Ben Goldberg Quartet was assembled and conducted by Zorn himself.
Finally, Goldberg plays clarinet with the acoustic ensemble Tin Hat, which appeared on the Masada anniversary album Voices in the Wilderness.
David Krakauer is a clarinetist firmly rooted in both klezmer and classical music. His band, Klezmer Madness!, incorporates elements from funk, jazz, and a variety of other genres. He has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet and made several releases on Zorn’s Tzadik label, including Klezmer Madness! and Klezmer, NY.
Given that Krakauer has collaborated with Uri Caine and played both clarinet and bass clarinet on John Zorn’s seminal Kristallnacht, it’s only natural that he should (finally!) record a set of tunes from The Book of Angels.
Guitarist Pat Metheny recorded the acclaimed free jazz album Song X with Ornette Coleman and recorded Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint” with Kronos Quartet. Metheny’s upcoming Book of Angels entry is planned as a solo performance.
Whatever Masada Book Two compositions remain will be recorded on one or two albums by artists not yet announced. Once those are completed, we’ll have finally reached the end of this chapter in Masada’s legacy. But for hardcore fans of this music, there’s still plenty to come.
On the horizon: Masada Book Three.
Good Aural apparently heard the news from John Zorn himself. I had heard rumors of the Pat Metheny one in the past, and the other conspirators are consistent with who Zorn has worked with in the past. I’m hoping Mike Patton’s Fantômas does something in this series in the future. It’s not out of the realm – they did one song for the Unknown Masada album in 2003 (a pre-cursor to the Masada Book Two concept). Oh, or the Moonchild Trio!! That would kick ass.