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50th Birthday Celebration, Vol. 8 (Live)

Wadada Leo Smith, Susie Ibarra & John Zorn

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Album Review

This eighth volume in the John Zorn 50th Birthday Celebration series on Tzadik is most of all a blowing session with a ton of surprises. Recorded impeccably during the monthlong series at Tonic in New York, this bunch appears in both duo and trio configurations and the sparks fly throughout. There are two sets of music contained here. The first, a series of duets between Zorn and Susie Ibarra, runs the gamut improvisationally from the knotty skitter and skate of "Meridian" and the Eastern motif in "Rising Sun" to the spacious tonal inquiries of "Spirit Writing," where Ibarra's elongated brush work provides a stunning backdrop texture to Zorn's melodic modal inquiry. The second set, beginning with "Ipsissimi," is a trio session on three of four tunes. The interplay between Zorn and Wadada Leo Smith is nothing short of breathtaking most of the time, each man finding complete aural empathy with the other as Ibarra not only prods but drives them toward each other in a crystalline, precise, and flowing manner that suggests the out of time and space work of Sunny Murray. On "The Ascending Arc," the two men play in a duo that is full of warmth, humor, and subtlety before the trio re-engages to take it out on "Full Fathom Five," a passionate, unruly, and wonderfully raucous performance. This is one volume in this series not to miss.

Biography

Born: 02 September 1953 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The one word virtually everyone can agree on in any discussion of the work of composer John Zorn is "prolific," in the strictest sense of the definition. Though he didn't begin making records until 1980, the recordings under his own name number well over 100, and the sheer number of works he has performed on, composed, or produced easily doubles that number. Though now an internationally renowned musician and the founder and owner of the wildly successful and equally prolific Tzadik imprint, Zorn...
Full bio

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