March releases announced
John Zorn: The Hermetic Organ Vol 6--For Edgar Allan Poe
In these two spectacular performances Zorn literally “pulls out all the stops” in paying tribute to one of his favorite writers, the legendary Edgar Allan Poe, whose fantastical creations continue to capture the imagination of those interested in the dark side. Calling upon the Angels in two extended improvisations inspired by the haunting and frightening imagery of one of the world’s masters of fantasy and the imagination, the music features some of the strangest sounds you have ever heard come out of the instrument. This is organ improvisation at its most outrageous and macabre. You have never heard such sounds!
Spike Orchestra: The Book Beri’ah Vol 3--Binah
Based in London, The Spike Orchestra is one of the most adventurous Big Bands working today, blending jazz, rock, klezmer, cartoon music and the avant garde into a cohesive and compelling whole. Their first Masada project Cerberus was a surprise hit and one of the most powerful and imaginative interpretations in the entire Book of Angels series. Here they top that spectacular CD with new interpretations from The Book Beri’ah. With influences ranging from Gil Evans, Frank Zappa, Zorn and the most experimental side of the Stan Kenton organization, Spike Orchestra creates an incredibly varied program of Masada music at its rocking best. Astonishing big band jazz leading us into the 21st century.
January and February releases announced
Sofía Rei And JC Maillard: The Book Beri’ah Vol 1--Keter
The fabulous voice of Sofía Rei has graced several Zorn vocal projects, from the acappella quartet Mycale to the dynamic Song Project, and here she interprets eight compositions from the Book Beri’ah—the third and last book completing the Masada legacy. Featuring the remarkable JC Maillard on saz bass, the arrangements are incredibly varied, and range from lyrical heartfelt ballads to driving grooves. Intimate and intensely personal, this is one of the most unique Masada CDs in the entire series! Unforgettable.
(Release date: January 2019)
Cleric: The Book Beri’ah Vol 2--Chokhma
At the forefront of the new rock complexity, Cleric is one of the most cutting edge bands out of the experimental Metal community. Here they put their hand to 9 compositions from Masada Book Three. Masada fans since they were in their teens, the band has put an extra measure of creativity into this project, weaving the tunes into insane arrangements of epic proportions. Outrageous, exhilarating and intense music that combines Metal with modern classical, jazz and the Jewish tradition. You have never heard such sounds in your life!
(Release date: February 2019)
John Zorn to Lead Birthday Celebration with John Medeski, Matt Hollenberg and More
John Zorn will celebrate his 65th birthday from Saturday September 1 to Tuesday September 4 at The Chapel in San Francisco.
The saxophonist will play seven shows over five days, with a variety of musicians, including John Medeski, Mark Feldman, Matt Hollenberg and more.
Single show tickets are now available, as are seven show passes, which sell for $295.
Check out the full billings below
Saturday September 1
7 p.m. Show
TRIGGER – Will Greene, guitar – Simon Hanes, bass – Aaron Edgcomb, Drums
ERIK FRIEDLANDER and MICHAEL NICOLAS – Erik Friedlander, cello – Michael Nicolas, cello
BAGATELLES QUINTET – John Zorn, saxophone – Dave Douglas, trumpet – Greg Cohen, bass – Kenny Wollesen, drums – Kenny Grohowski, drums
10 p.m. Show
MASADA STRING TRIO – Mark Feldman, violin – Erik Friedlander, cello – Greg Cohen, bass – John Zorn, conductor
SOFIA REI – Sofia Rei, voice – JC Maillard, saz bass
MASADA QUARTET – John Zorn, saxophone – Dave Douglas, trumpet – Greg Cohen, bass – Kenny Wollesen, drums
Sunday September 2
7 p.m. Show
IMPROV BENEFIT FOR THE STONE – John Zorn, saxophone – Mike Patton, voice – Dave Lombardo, drums – John Medeski, organ – Matt Hollenberg, guitar – Kenny Grohowski, drums
SIMULACRUM – John Medeski, organ – Matt Hollenberg, guitar – Kenny Grohowski, drums
10 p.m . Show
CLERIC PLAY MASADA – Matt Hollenberg, guitar – Nick Shellenberger, voice, keys – Dan Kennedy, bass – Larry Kwartowitz, drums
SECRET CHIEFS 3 PLAY MASADA – Trey Spruance, guitar – Jason Schimmel, guitar – Matt Lebofsky, keyboards – Eyvind Kang, violin – Shanir Blumenkranz, bass – Ches Smith, percussion – Kenny Grohowski, drums
Monday September 3
5 p.m. Show
Live Trio Performance
John Zorn, saxophone
Laurie Anderson, vocals/violin
Terry Riley, piano
7 p.m. Show
Interpretation of Dreams (new chamber music) – Chris Otto, violin – Michael Nicolas, cello – Steve Gosling, piano – Sae Hashimoto, vibes – Shanir Blumenkranz, bass – Ches Smith, drums
Tuesday, September 4
7 p.m. Show
BRIAN MARSELLA TRIO play MASADA – Brian Marsella, piano – Jason Fraticelli, bass – Kenny Wollesen, drums
BRIAN SOLO BAGATELLES – Brian Marsella, solo piano
BANQUET OF THE SPIRITS play MASADA – Cyro Baptista, percussion – Brian Marsella, piano – Shanir Blumenkranz ,bass – Kenny Wollesen, drums
November 2018 release announced
John Zorn: Salem, 1692
The second studio CD by Zorn’s incendiary new instrumental quartet presents a remarkable suite inspired by the tragic reign of terror in the Early American settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony commonly known as The Salem Witch Trials. The music is intense and hauntingly beautiful, touching upon aspects of Possession, Magic, Witchcraft, Hysteria and Transformation. Tighter than ever, the quartet performs brilliantly in this spellbinding followup to their eponymous first release Insurrection. An evocative collection of shredding guitar fireworks and bizarre magical spells, Salem 1692 is truly a musical reign of terror.
June 2018 release announced
John Zorn: In A Convex Mirror
In a Convex Mirror features Zorn's unique saxophone playing and keyboard stylings in an extended foray into the nexus of voudun and downtown improvisation. An intense student of Haitian drumming and a regular at ceremonies from NYC to Port-au-Prince Haiti, Ches Smith weaves a hypnotic tapestry of polyrhythms that are constantly in flux. The result is an exciting new context for Zorn the performer. With special guest Ikue Mori creating moody electronic soundscapes, the music is as hypnotic as it is exhilarating. Three pieces of sonic voodoo for the 21st century!
April 2018 release announced:
John Zorn: Insurrection
Insurrection is an intense new instrumental project featuring guitar wizards Julian Lage and Matt Hollenberg with the incredible rhythm section of Trevor Dunn and Kenny Grohowski. Inspired by some of the greatest experimental novels of the 20th century the music is incredibly varied, combining rock, funk, blues, jazz, classical and more—often in the same song! Gnarly atonal melodies, bizarre harmonies, astonishing guitar fireworks and telepathic group interaction make this one of Zorn’s most scintillating and adventurous new projects. Everyone is playing at their best here, and you have never heard such sounds! As always Zorn pulls the very best out of the musicians and they play some of the most outrageous solos you have ever heard. Essential!
February 15, 2018:
John Zorn has launched a Pledge Music campaign for a new box set: The Book Beriah. It features the final 92 compositions that complete the 25-year Masada legacy. The contents are:
CD1 Keter – crown SOFIA REI
CD2 Chokhma – wisdom CLERIC
CD3 Binah – understanding SPIKE ORCHESTRA
CD4 Chesed – loving kindness JULIAN LAGE-GYAN RILEY
CD5 Gevurah – severity ABRAXAS
CD6 Tiferet – beauty KLEZMERSON
CD7 Netzach – eternity GNOSTIC TRIO
CD8 Hod – splendor ZION80
CD9 Yesod – foundation BANQUET OF THE SPIRITS
CD10 Malkhut – kingship SECRET CHIEFS 3
BONUS CD —
CD11 Da’at – knowledge CRAIG TABORN-VADIM NESELOVSKYI
There are various purchasing options which can be found on the campaign page here. Updated release date is August 24th.
January 2018 release announced:
John Zorn: The Urmuz Epigrams
With The Urmuz Epigrams Zorn returns to his roots, using the recording studio as instrument to create an intensely personal suite of compositions in the style of his legendary File Card compositions and Zoetropes. Dedicated to the visionary Romanian writer Urmuz whose small, scattered body of work predated Dadaism by decades, The Urmuz Epigrams is a suite of surrealistic miniatures more akin to philosophical aphorisms than actual music. The pieces are presented here in two iterations, as a set of “rare 78rpm records” complete with surface scratches and limited dynamic range, and as a modern reconstruction of same with the full blown studio sound presented in all its perplexing glory. Some of the craziest music in the Zorn catalog!
November 2017 release announced:
John Zorn: The Hermetic Organ - Philharmonie De Paris
John Zorn returns to his original instrument with a new volume of organ improvisations recorded at his infamous Weekend in Paris in April 2017. The organ at the Grand Salle Pierre Boulez is one of the most powerful and versatile in France, and Zorn approaches it with great sensitivity and wild abandon. Includes both the full 40 minute concert recording, and over 30 additional minutes of Zorn alone at the manuals in rehearsal the same day.
Arcana VIII - Musicians On Music - 10th Anniversary Edition
Initiated in 1997 and now in its eighth installment, John Zorn’s acclaimed Arcana series is a major source of new music theory and practice in the 21st century. To date over 250 musicians (spanning three generations) have contributed, addressing the inner workings of composing, improvising, teaching, living, touring and thinking about music via essays, manifestoes, interviews, notes, critical papers and more. This special anniversary edition presents writings spanning classical music, jazz, rock, improvisation, world music, film soundtracks and more by exciting young artists, established masters and visionary mavericks.
September 2017 release announced:
John Zorn: The Interpretation Of Dreams
This powerful collection of new work inspired by the surrealism of Luis Buñuel and the psychotropic dream world of William Burroughs comprises three remarkable compositions—two stream-of-consciousness tours de force for vibraphone and rhythm section and the sensual piano quintet Obscure Objects of Desire, one of Zorn’s most evocative new works. Performing is the powerful young vibraphonist Sae Hashimoto, along with JACK quartet, Steve Gosling, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz and Tyshawn Sorey from Zorn’s devoted inner circle. A colorful and varied program of breathtakingly transcendent compositions conjuring dreams and obsessions both real and imaginary!
June 2017 release announced:
John Zorn: Midsummer Moons
For millennia the moon has been a subject of deep fascination—a symbol of love, lust, madness and dreams. More than a passive observer, it is a powerful force whose brilliant luminosity exerts an intoxicating effect upon the winds, the tides, our emotions and more. This dark and moody CD of music inspired by Shakespearian Lunar imagery features ten lyrical compositions evoking the magic of Sister Moon. Stunningly performed by two of the most fabulous new guitarists working today— ulian Lage and Gyan Riley, this is a beautiful and heartfelt program of music for late night contemplation on a romantic midsummer evening.
April 2017 release announced
Brian Marsella: Buer: The Book Of Angels Volume 31
16 Masada compositions performed by a dynamic piano trio featuring Brian Marsella, the astonishing and passionate pianist from Banquet of the Spirits, Zion80 and The Flail. Joined here by the classic Masada rhythm section of Trevor Dunn and Kenny Wollesen, the performances are powerful, focused and incredibly varied. Each piece presents a different musical world, referencing McCoy Tyner, Don Pullen, Erik Satie, Conlon Nancarrow, Horace Silver, Lennie Tristano, Bill Evans, Bach, Bud Powell, Richard Twardzik, Debussy and many others.
March 2017 release announced
John Zorn: There Is No More Firmament
There is No More Firmament is a remarkable collection of recent compositions from 2013–2016 that showcase the range, variety and continued creativity of Zorn as he enters his sixties. Connected together with a thread of intensity, magic and madness, the music tells a twisted and complex story of a magical descent into madness. The compositions include two works for brass ensembles, a woodwind quintet, jazz piano trio, string trio and two solo pieces for clarinet and trumpet, with the outrageous trumpet solo Merlin appearing in two realizations—one by jazz master Peter Evans and another by the European classical virtuoso Marco Blaauw.