Wednesday, July 21, 2010

John Zorn - The Goddess: Music for the Ancient of Days (Tzadik, 2010)

John Zorn is behind the scenes on this interesting album, having seven of his compositions presented by a band consisting of Rob Burger on piano, Trevor Dunn on bass, Carol Emanue on harp, Ben Perowsky on drums, Kenny Wollesen on vibes and Mark Ribot on guitar. Dedicated to "Women in Myth, Magick and Ritual throughout the Ages" the music has a light and delicate feel with touches of energy throughout. "Enchantress" opens with a lush medium tempo developing into a percussive piano and vibraphone section with harp accents. Guitar sparks are added over the piano before heading back to the lush melody. Vibes shimmer and probe in a pastel fashion on "Ishtar" with Burger's piano joining in with a Keith Jarrett like fullness. Marc Ribot breaks out on "Heptameron" throwing thunderbolts of electric guitar like Zeus, after a mid-tempo melodic opening featuring shimmering harp reminiscent of Alice Coltrane's music. A dreamy feel pervades "White Magick" picking up the pace led by percussive vibes and piano. Ribot beams in some strong guitar, building to a masterful solo, completely owning the music, but not grandstanding in the least. He plays like a panther pacing the cage on "Drawing Down the Moon" which is not quite a ballad, but has an uneasy gentility. He seems to lays out on the final two songs, "Beyond the Infinite" which has the band improvising around pulsating piano and bass. "Ode to Delphi" ends the album in a thoughtful and melodic nature. This was an interesting album, that was played for the most part with great restraint, searching for different ways to use musical colors and textures at the expense of power and brute force. Goddess: Music for the Ancient of Days - amazon.com

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