Masada String Trio

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No, I haven’t sampled all of theĀ Book of Angels CDs in John Zorn’s Masada series. Haven’t even come close.

So, despite the players’ pedigrees, I hadn’t yet heard the Masada String Trio.

Then this popped up. Posted to YouTube just last month, it appears to be a French TV broadcast of a live String Trio performance. Greg Cohen on bass, Erik Friedlander on cello, Mark Feldman on violin, and Zorn doing the conducting and grinning ear to ear. There’s some brilliant playing here.

This combination seems dear to Zorn’s heart, because Masada String Trio was grantedĀ two entries in the Book of Angels series (wherein each band in succession got to pick from Zorn’s “Masada Book Two” compositions). They also recorded the inaugural CD in Tzadik’s series celebrating Zorn’s 50th birthday in 2003. All of those discs are concerts recorded at the late, lamented Tonic.

Well, why not? Three downtown NYC veterans playing good music at a beyond-expert level — who wouldn’t be game for that? Glad I finally took the time to listen.

Zorn Has Landed

I’m not going until Saturday. But the SF Chronicle gives you an idea what to expect from John Zorn’s six-night residency at Yoshi’s in San Francisco.

Here’s an overview of the music, and a review of Tuesday night’s Secret Chiefs 3 performance.

The review says the show sold out — score one for the good guys. It’s worth noting, though, that that $20 show was the cheapest ticket of the week, with prices as high as $50 for the weekenders.

Zorn has brought an all-star team from New York to play these shows, so he probably commanded quite a premium for being here. I can understand how Yoshi’s arrived at the prices it did, but then again, I know I probably would have bought one more ticket for a little less skin. Considering they’re already having trouble attracting jazz fans to the venue, this might turn out to be a gamble that backfires — which would be a shame. There’s certainly some hubris to be accounted for here, and yes I complained about the ticket prices earlier, but I’d still hate to see Yoshi’s get punished for trying something this bold.

UPDATE: Wow, Zorn gave a long and gracious interview to KTVU — check it out here. I especially like his explanation of what he’s trying to accomplish with The Stone. Thanks to Siebert on Twitter for pointing it out.

Playlist: March 6, 2009

KZSU playlist for Friday, March 6, 2009, 3:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Items of note:

  • Axis Trio is pretty damn cool and will get their own writeup here soon. The band members’ heritages trace back to Pakistan, Morocco, and Iran.
  • Jen Baker‘s “lyrical vibrations” (singing into the trombone) got written up on the old page, here
  • Got to give away tickets to John Zorn’s Masada String Trio, one of the bands playing during Zorn’s week-long residency at Yoshi’s, which starts Tuesday.

Continue reading “Playlist: March 6, 2009”