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 


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.


October 2017: 

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.  

Steve Beresford 
Robert Dick 
Shane Parish 
Ted Reichman 
Jad Atoui 
Per Boland 
Brian Chase 
Kris Davis 
Rinde Eckert 
Wendy Eisenberg 
Harris Eisenstadt 
Suzanne Farrin 
Dave Fiuczynski 
David Garland 
Michael Gordon 
Simon Hanes 
Barbara Hannigan 
John Hollenbeck 
Matt Hollenberg 
Jon Irabagon 
Julian Lage 
Ava Mendoza 
Matt Mitchell 
Nicole Mitchell 
Vadim Neselovskyi 
Linda Oh 
Chris Pitsiokos 
Sofia Rei 
Sara Serpa 
Marc Urselli 
Ken Vandermark 
Dan Weiss



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 21,  2017 is the release date for 

Brian Marsella: Buer: The Book Of Angels Volume 31.

The description is:

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 24,  2017 saw the release of

John Zorn: There Is No More Firmament

Tzadik describes it as follows:   

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.