Improviser, composer and performer Zeena Parkins is one of America's most talented avant-gardists. An integral component of New York City's downtown scene, the electric harpist has performed with an all-star list of musicians, including John Zorn, Fred Frith, the late Tom Cora, Elliot Sharp and Gate, among others. The range of sounds and textures she can coax out of her instrument and the accompanying electronics is impressive, and her instincts are superb. In addition to records with bands such as No Safety, Skeleton Crew, News From Babel and Elliot Sharp's Carbon, she has released several solo records, including two long-form compositions for Zorn's Tzadik label. Her Mouth=Maul=Betrayer is a stunner, exploring the lives and culture of Jewish gangsters through radical chamber orchestrations and mesmerizing text read in the obscure Yiddish language of Rotwelsch.