Friday, December 07, 2012

John Zorn - Concealed (Tzadik, 2012)

The Concealed brings together two of the groups that play John Zorn’s compositions, without him taking part, the string ensemble Bar Kokhba and exocita/lounge band The Dreamers. The players are Joey Baron on drums, Trevor Dunn on bass, Mark Feldman on violin, Erik Friedlander on cello, John Medeski on piano and Kenny Wollesen on vibraphone. The music deftly shifts between the two poles, from the vaguely Middle Eastern bowing and plucking of the string ensemble to percussive vibes, piano and drums of the other pole. The latter is exemplified on the opening track “Persepolis” where the piano and vibes dance around a deftly stated pulse. “Back to Bokhara” shows the approach of the string section with multiple textures being developed across bowed and plucked instruments. They can develop a melancholy air as on the beginning of “Life Is Only Real When I Am.” But the album as a whole is not a downer or depressive, the compositions and the performances cover a wide variety of aesthetic territory and show Zorn’s diverse interests as a composer. Concealed -

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