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

IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS

John Zorn

RIO/Avant-Prog


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snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars John's first real solo album of year 2010 (first 2010 release of Zorn's associated projects was Masada's "Mycale"). This work is real answer for those missing jazz in Zorn's works of some last years. This album is jazz.

Nothing from avant-garde. Nothing from klezmer, hard-core or electronics experiments. Nothing at all! This album is very tasteful, melodic, melancholic contemporary jazz music for piano and vibraphone, supported by rhythm section ( acoustic, electric bass and drums). Music is mid tempo, very elegant, pleasant to listen ( with very light post-bop influence). Each composition itself is almost masterpiece (even if not very complex technically). Main problem for me was the album as whole product: in fact John just used small perfect idea, and developed it till full album.

If separately each composition is almost excellent, there is very difficult to find a difference between compositions. In fact all album sounds a bit as one long song ( or album of remixes of same composition with very small difference between versions). At that point ( and remembering that Zorn declared he will release 12 albums in 2010) I for a first time feel some danger he will use just very small even genial idea for each this year's album just to fulfil his program. Still hope I am wrong in this...

Very pleasant and tasteful contemporary jazz album, just don't expect nothing experimental or unusual. Music (jazz) to enjoy.

Three and half rounded till 4.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#275701)
Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars I'm slowly starting to understand how it works. For me as beginner in this Prog Jazz Rock Fusion something journey, it's important to start with more easy to listen albums and slowly work through to more difficult pieces, some of them even masterpieces.

This is xylophone journey that we are conducting because we want to find Miraculous. Where is this blasted guy ? What should we do when we find him ? Well, for me, Marty, this mysterious M. is peace. Yes, John Zorn is trying to tell us that we should find our inner calmness and enjoy it, whatever it means.

Songs are quite similar in tone, in how they sound, also repetitive a lot (this way of doing music with small step changes is used here). I hope I will meet J. Zorn's Avant Garde work in future, but for now, this is enjoyable little album in about same style as what I reviewed a hour ago, Pat Metheny's Orchestrion

4(-), too "same", not many variations here, but as I said, enjoyable.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#281050)
Posted Saturday, May 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album opens with two great songs ("Prelude: From a Great Temple" [8/10] and "Sacred Dance {Invocation}" [9/10] before slipping ("Book of Shadows" [6/10]) into a pretty, easy listening, almost New Age feel. "Affirmation" [7/10] brings in a pleasant though 'nothing new' Vince Guaraldi feel (which seems appropriate, given the title and Vince's very life-affirming work with "Peanuts" and "Black Orpheus" soundtracks.) "Magus" [8/10] skips back into the realm of exciting, moving and very melodic jazz. "Hymn for a New Millenium" [8/10] reminds me a lot of some MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA structures and emotional tones. "Journey of the Magicians" [4/10] is pure elevator jazz--a pop song turned instrumental with a jazzified instruments and feel. "Mythic Etude" [7/10] is a pretty slow dance with some Chopin-feeling moments. "Postlude: Prayers and Enchantment" [6/10] is a kind of bland, unexceptional jazz piece-- a lot like some of PAT METHENY GROUP's slower, more soporific stuff. Over all, I like this album a bit more than the only other Zorn album I've ever heard, "The Goddess: Music for Ancient Days." Good enjoyable music. Recommended.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#384341)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#594786)
Posted Friday, December 23, 2011 | Review Permalink

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