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John Zorn - Redbird CD (album) cover


John Zorn



3.35 | 14 ratings

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4 stars Rating: B

John Zorn's vast catalogue (100+ titles and counting) includes a smattering of just about everything: free jazz, grindcore, avant-garde classical, extreme avant-garde, game pieces (a style of composed improvising he invented), klezmer, noise rock, electronic, and, in the case of Redbird, minimalism. Each of these facets of Zorn has it's joys, and Redbird is certainly just that, a joy. Nothing much really ever happens in the sense that Redbird is quiet for all of its near fifty-minute duration, but, by that same token, nothing ever needs to happen - the music is plenty engaging as it is.

Or, at least, most of it is. To be perfectly honest, I think the opener, "Dark River," is unnecessary and dull. It lacks dynamics. It lacks tension. It simply doesn't hold my interest. In short, it's just not interesting. Thankfully, though, it's only nine minutes, and the remaining forty-one minutes on Redbird (which are entirely taken by the title composition) are all fantastic. Everything "Dark River" lacks is present in "Redbird," which truly ranks among Zorn's best pieces (which, given that it's Zorn, is really saying something). It still doesn't do much, but that doesn't make it boring. It's long chords, percussive elements (which do not provide a beat, but rather another texture to the music), and general sense of tension make it a captivating piece.

This is not the place to start with John Zorn, as he has numerous better CDs, but for those who are confirmed fans of John Zorn's work, this is an essential purchase. "Dark River" may not be particularly engaging, but "Redbird" more than makes up for this, making Redbird (the CD) very strong overall. Those interested in minimalism might wish to start their Zorn journey here, however, as this is one of his finest examples of minimalism. A fantastic CD, to be sure, but then again, I'd expect nothing less from John Zorn.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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