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John Zorn - In Search Of The Miraculous CD (album) cover


John Zorn



3.68 | 33 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars John Zorn: In Search of the Miraculous [2010]

Rating: 8/10

In Search of the Miraculous shows John Zorn continuing with the melodic jazz style previously developed on albums such as Alhambra Love Songs and O'o. Zorn is most commonly associated with harsh and atonal music that forgoes compositional structure in favor of brutal saxophone blaring. However, he has recently ventured away from this difficult style, instead choosing to focus on more melodic and (relatively) accessible compositions. Zorn's ventures into the more harmonious side of jazz music have yielded some of his best albums yet, and In Search of the Miraculous is no exception. This is a superb slice of contemporary jazz with stunning musicianship and deft composition. Piano and vibraphone are the primary melodic instruments here, trading off between complex soloing. All of this is backed up by an immense rhythm section featuring Zorn veteran Greg Cohen on acoustic bass and newcomers Ben Perowsky and Shanir Blumenkranz on drums and electric bass, respectively. These phenomenal musicians absolutely nail some of Zorn's most epic compositions.

"Prelude: From a Great Temple" opens the album with a wonderfully hypnotic piano sequence and light percussion. "Sacred Dance (Invocation)" is, without a doubt, one of the greatest contemporary jazz pieces I have ever heard. Rob Burge's piano is absolutely stunning, and the rhythm section is in a league of its own. "The Book of Shadows" is a somber piece with gorgeous and emotive piano playing. "Affirmation" has an irresistible groove, and the piano reminds me of a snowy day. "The Magus" is the longest piece on the album, and it doesn't disappoint. Each musician gets a chance to shine here. "Hymn for a New Millennium" may be the most moving piece on the album. Everything about it is completely gorgeous. The drumming is the real highlight of "Journey of the Magicians." Perowsky gives a memorable performance. "Mythic Etude" is a slow piece that gradually develops subtle themes. "Postlude: Prayers and Enchantment" ends the album with ethereal vibes and some excellent short drum solos from Perowsky.

No jazz fan should allow In Search of the Miraculous to pass them by. This is one of the best albums I have ever heard in this style. Unfortunately, however, this style tends to become a bit sterile by the time an album like this is over. Thus, I cannot award this with a masterpiece rating. Regardless, I have almost nothing negative to say about it. Zorn is top form here, reinforcing his already sterling status as a jazz composer. He always finds the best musicians, a fact made obvious here; each performance is incredible, particularly Burge's piano playing. In Search of the Miraculous is a Mecca of contemporary jazz that should not be missed.

Anthony H. | 4/5 |


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