Saturday, June 30, 2012

Metta Quintet - Big Drum/Small World; John Zorn - Templars in Sacred Blood

Metta Quintet - Big Drum/Small World (Jazz Reach, 2012) Big Drum Small World is the latest album from the Metta Quintet, a cooperative ensemble made up of Marcus Strickland on tenor and soprano saxophones, Greg Ward on alto saxophone, David Bryant on piano, Joshua Ginsburg on bass and Hans Schuman on drums. This album is EP length with five songs in less than forty minutes, but works very well within those parameters, and the music never overstays its welcome. It’s best not to tamper with a good thing, and the modern jazz groove that the band settles into throughout this LP works very well with the saxophones intertwining  on soaring melodies and the rhythm section pushing the action forward in a light and nimble fashion. Definitely worth looking into for fans of modern mainstream jazz. Big Drum, Small World - amazon.com


John Zorn - Templars in Sacred Blood (Tzadik, 2012) Something completely different is the latest entry in composer and saxophonist John Zorn’s Moonchild series, Templars in Sacred Blood. This version of the Moonchild band has Zorn’s compositions but no saxophone, Joey Baron on drums, Trevor Dunn on bass, John Medeski on organ and Mike Patton on vocals. This is a wild and interesting piece of work with Zorn’s lyrics and music detailing rise and fall of the Knights Templar (a powerful military and economic force, that was brutally disbanded by the King of France and Pope in 1307.) The music is fascinating as is it draws on drone, metal, jazz with the instrumental trio constantly shifting from ominous open space to bone crushing fusion. Patton is a revelation as well, developing his singing from near liturgical music all the way through growling and shouting in rage and pain. Certainly not for everyone, but it is fascinating how Zorn melds history, mystery and is able to find the right combination of musicians to bring his unique vision to light. Templars In Sacred Blood - amazon.com

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