News

November new release announced

Recorded at the powerful organ at Henri LeBoeuf Hall, Bozar in Brussels, this is one of Zorn’s most beautiful and personal solo performances—a dramatic musical reading of the epic Faust legend.
 

Featuring a guest appearance by the sensational vocalist Barbara Hannigan, who is improvising with Zorn for the very first time—this exciting concert is presented here in a special limited edition 2-disc set that includes both a CD and a bonus DVD hi-quality film document of the event.

No one plays the organ quite like Zorn and many of his unusual techniques, usually hidden in performance, are presented in close focus. Beautifully filmed by state of the art equipment, this is a wild and colorful concert by two mavericks of new music. Essential!

October 2022 new release announced

Multiplicities: A Repository of Non-Existent Objects is book of twenty new Zorn compositions in the form of musical aphorisms.

Inspired by the writings and thought of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, the music is wildly imaginative and meticulously structured, filled with unexpected twists and turns jumping from rock, jazz, and classical, to funk, metal, and more.

 

This first volume presents the first ten aphorisms performed by Zorn’s dynamic new ensemble Chaos Magick. John Medeski, Brian Marsella, Matt Hollenberg, and Kenny Grohowski (four members of Zorn’s innermost circle) perform with an intense passion and painstaking attention to detail. Filled with fiery solos and bizarre juxtapositions, this is a multifaceted exploration of instrumental music at its wildest extremes.

SEPTEMBER 2022 new release announced

Incerto is the birth of an exciting new modern jazz ensemble featuring the remarkable trio from Suite for Piano (Brian Marsella, Jorge Roeder, Ches Smith) joined by the brilliant guitarist Julian Lage. A quartet capable of anything, this is the perfect group to realize Zorn’s quirky compositional twists and turns.

The music is wildly varied—maddeningly complex, powerfully driving, heartbreakingly beautiful—and embraces complex meter changes, atonal melodies, unusual harmonies, and bizarre structural complexity.
 

Inspired by Freud, Sartre, and the Uncertainty Principle, the music explores possibilities, probabilities, inevitabilities, and impossibilities.

august 2022 new release announced

Filled with wild sounds, bizarre juxtapositions, soulful melodies, and pulsating drones, this outrageous recital is one of Zorn’s very best.

Inspired by Aleister Crowley’s Liber Liberi vel Lapidis Lazuli, and performed in a kind of trance state, this is music beyond thought, beyond beauty, beyond rationality.

Recorded at St. John’s Cathedral in Knoxville, Tennessee during the 2022 Big Ears Festival, this is Zorn at his metaphysical zenith.

Organ improvisations with Mystery at its very heart—you have never heard such sounds!

JULY 2022 Release Announced

Inspired in part by the Goldberg Variations and Schoenberg's solo piano music, Suite for Piano is Zorn's very personal take on some of the oldest traditional classical forms.

It is performed here by one of the most dedicated, virtuosic, and passionate interpreters in the Zorn universe, Brian Marsella, whose educational experience (too "jazz" for the classical world and too "classical" for the jazz world) makes him the perfect interpreter of Zorn's cross-pollinating musical poetics.

Accompanied by the telepathic rhythm section of Jorge Roeder and Ches Smith (Heaven and Earth Magick) this is a beautiful and soulful program of music for the classic instrumentation of piano, bass, and drums.

July 2022 release announced

Two extremely rare live recordings of the classic Zorn composition Fencing from the early days of the Downtown scene.

Featuring two realizations of the piece - one recorded at Zorn’s artist loft The Theatre of Musical Optics with Eugene Chadbourne, Duck Baker, and Randy Hutton on guitars - and the other at Bard College with Chadbourne, Polly Bradfield, and John Zorn, a legendary concert that took place with George Lewis, Anthony Braxton, and Roscoe Mitchell in the audience. The music is astonishing - strange sounds, odd juxtapositions, stark silences, sudden explosions, all held together by a bizarre overarching compositional logic. 

Featuring a 16-page booklet replete with photos, scores, and extensive notes and remembrances by Zorn, Chadbourne, Baker, and George Lewis, this is a collector’s dream. Vexing and powerful sounds from the 1978 New York Underground!

New LImited release

The Song of Songs

This very special CD BOOK presents John Zorn’s evocative musical setting of the Biblical love poem 
The Song of Songs, with singer/conductor Barbara Hannigan and film director/actor Mathieu Amalric narrating. 
Featuring extensive notes, the full text of Jeremy Fogel’s passionate new translation (commissioned expressly for 
this project), and 35 illustrations by Zorn himself, this limited edition one-of-a-kind CD BOOK is an absolute treasure.

“It was a true labour of love to record this sensual and newly translated text within John’s music, 
merging and intertwining sound and word with the extraordinary vocal ensemble.” —Barbara Hannigan, 2022

FROM THE INTRODUCTION

Combining plainchant, mediaeval ars nova, Renaissance madrigals, 20th century vocal techniques, jazz and minimalism, Shir Hashirim (written in 2007) was in many ways a culmination of the vocal language I had been developing since Frammenti del Sappho in 2004. Originally conceived as an acappella setting of the Song of Songs with male and female narrators reading the poetry, it was performed in that version by Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson in English, Mathieu Amalric and Clothide Hesme in French and by Jeremy Fogel and Ayelet Rose Gottlieb in the original Hebrew. The plan to perform at the Lincoln Center Festival in 2013 with Lou and Laurie became difficult with Lou’s health issues, and rather than search for a replacement, my decision at the time was to perform a version of the music without narration. It was sublime, and we recorded the music soon after. The CD of Shir Hashirim was released in December 2013, just two months after Lou had passed, and it is a beautiful document of the version sans narration—but deep down I knew an opportunity to record the version with narration would eventually appear. That opportunity came early in 2020, during the pandemic lockdown.

Barbara Hannigan and I met in the summer of 2015 and we bonded immediately. She had begun a close relationship with my dear friend Mathieu Amalric (it is still going strong) and he very much wanted us to meet, so arranged the rendezvous. Our first conversation went deep and we continued to correspond, slowly moving toward a project we could work on together. Our first adventure was my song cycle for voice and piano Jumalattaret. It proved to be a revelatory experience for both of us, and she performed it in Lisbon, Den Bosch, at the Armory in NYC, and at the Ojai festival in California. For our next project she took on the challenging vocal part in Pandora’s Box (my take on the Lulu legend). It was a natural for her and she brought the piece to a new level with her exhilarating virtuosity and powerfully sensual stage presence. We began to discuss future projects. In 2020, when the pandemic derailed our summer plans to record Jumalattaret, and she found herself locked down with Mathieu in his country house in Brittany. The idea came to me that this two dear friends—two incredible actors with a huge and passionate expressive range—would be the perfect loving couple to narrate Shir Hashirim. They loved the idea and we began to discuss various translations.

On revisiting the best of them (King James, Robert Alter, Marcia Falk) none really resonated. None seemed to capture the intense sensuality of the Hebrew original. Realizing that a brand new translation might be the best path ahead, I immediately thought of vocalist/musician/philosopher/poet/author/bon vivant Jeremy Fogel, who had narrated the work in Hebrew at the Guggenheim in 2008. Fogel is a close friend and brilliant scholar whose integrity, imagination, non-compromising attitude and unique vision is sure to become more known in the next decade. On presenting the Shir Hashirim project to him he was immediately inspired and put everything aside to focus in on the translation. After a quick back and forth we both agreed that rather than laboring over the words for months (it could easily turn into years) that the best strategy would be to work in the Rimbaud tradition—fast and loose. He completed it in a week and the results are remarkable. Fogel has achieved nothing less than a miracle. He has captured the poetic sensuality of the original like no other, creating perhaps the best contemporary translation of this profound and influential Biblical poetry yet achieved. His attention to detail and adherence to the spirit and poetry of the original gave Barbara and Mathieu added inspiration, lifting their reading to an even more intense, poignant and meaningful level. 

Some projects are finished in a matter of days, some in months, and sometimes it takes years. It took 13 years to finally record the “original version” of Shir Hashirim with narration, the one created in 2007 at my work desk at home. It was well worth the wait. One could not have asked for a more perfect text, nor two more perfect narrators. Fogel’s translation is heavenly. Barbara and Mathieu are transcendent. The results are truly blessings from the Angels. —John Zorn September 2020

John Zorn 
Song of Songs Shir Hashirim (31’03)

featuring 
Barbara Hannigan narration 
Mathieu Amalric narration

and a new translation from the 
Hebrew by Jeremy Fogel 
THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM 
Martha Cluver, Lisa Bielawa 
Abigail Fischer, Kathryn Mulvehill 
Kirsten Sollek voices 
Composed by John Zorn

APRIL 2022 release announced

Spinoza is Zorn’s latest creation for the searing jazz-metal trio Simulacrum—perhaps the most extreme organ trio ever.

Inspired by the life and thought of one of the world’s greatest philosophers he has composed two extended concerti: one for guitar genius Bill Frisell, and another featuring himself on saxophone.

The musical mosaic flows seamlessly from one world to another, touching upon heavy metal, jazz, minimalism, atonality, noise, ambient moods, funk, and so much more.

A musical vision as radical as the philosophy of Spinoza himself, this is one of Zorn’s greatest recent works—an essential and exhilarating project as powerful as it is sensitive. Cinema for the ears!

march 2022 release announced

A beautiful suite of music for late night listening, spiritual and evocative, performed by an all-star unit of four members of Zorn’s inner circle.

Structured like a religious mass, these seven lovely nocturnes take you to an otherworldly space of beauty and tenderness, unlike any other Zorn compositions you have ever heard.

Gorgeous and restful music from a compositional seeker who continues to defy categorization, Perchance to Dream… is one of the most unusual and haunting collections in his catalog.