Tuesday, April 03, 2012

John Zorn - Gnostic Preludes (Tzadik, 2012)

Gnostic Preludes is a fascinating continuation of musical rumination about mysticism that composer and saxophonist John Zorn has been exploring for quite a while now. This album brings together an unusual trio: Bill Frisell, a long time Zorn confederate, on guitar, Carol Emanuel on harp and Kenny Wollesen on vibraphone. Zorn himself does not play, but flexes his compositional muscle by providing consistently interesting material for the players to perform. Developed as an eight part suite, the music retains an air of mystery throughout. The tone colors created by the instruments give the music a light and floating quality as if the music has become un-tethered from space and time and is floating in the aether. Folks who might have grown a little weary of Frisell's "Americana" projects will definitely want to hear this one, because he plays with a great deal of depth and tact, not shredding as he may have done on previous Zorn projects like Naked City, but really buying into the concept and making the most of it. Emanuel and Wollensen keep the music floating (but never floating away) with a light touch on their instruments that adds to magical atmosphere. This was a very interesting recording, Zorn's compositions are quite compelling and the musicianship is first rate. Gnostic Preludes - amazon.com

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