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John Zorn

Biography

John Zorn's sixty-plus (and counting) releases run the gamut from abstract improvisational game pieces (Cobra) and hyperactive, slice-and-dice Grindcore (Torture Garden) to near-minimalist Chamber Music (Redbird) and cinematic studio collages (Spillane and The Big Gundown). The New York City native's most identifiable trademarks are his bloodied, high pitch-dwelling alto saxophone playing and, as a composer, his use of rapid, jarring juxtapositions -- in mood, volume, genre, and/or instrumentation. Both qualities featured heavily in his late '80s/early '90s supergroup Naked City, a sort of rock band summation of his work since the late '70s and one of his two most popular projects. The other, his Jewish-jazz quartet Masada, is relatively traditional, featuring Klezmer and Middle Eastern-flavored melodies in an energetic, Post Bop-to-Free Jazz context. Marking a new phase of his career, Zorn has been devoting attention to his classical material, and in doing so ensuring that his listeners will consistently remain on their toes.

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