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THE BIG GUNDOWN: JOHN ZORN PLAYS THE MUSIC OF ENNIO MORRICONE

John Zorn

RIO/Avant-Prog


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John Zorn The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays The Music Of Ennio Morricone album cover
3.05 | 16 ratings | 4 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

LP/CD release:

The Big Gundown 7:17
Peur Sur La Ville 4:08
Poverty (Once Upon A Time In America) 3:42
Milano Odea 2:57
Erotico (The Burglars) 4:17
Battle Of Algiers 3:43
Gił La Testa (Duck, You Sucker 5:59
Metamorfosi (La Classe Operaia Va In Paradiso) 4:25
Tre Nel 5000 4:32
Once Upon A Time In The West 8:27


2000 Tzadik CD release:

Bonus Tracks

11 The Sicilian Clan 3:20
Bass - Greg Cohen
Cello - Erik Friedlander
Drums - Joey Baron
Guitar - Marc Ribot
Percussion - Cyro Baptista
Violin - Mark Feldman
12 Macchie Solari 3:29
Keyboards - Jamie Saft
Voice - Miho Hatori
13 The Ballad Of Hank McCain 5:27
Keyboards - Jamie Saft
Percussion - Cyro Baptista
Voice - Mike Patton
14 Suegliatti E Uccidi 3:03
Bass - Trevor Dunn
Drums - Joey Baron
Guitar - Derek Bailey , Marc Ribot
15 Chi Mai 3:06
Bass - Greg Cohen
Cello - Erik Friedlander
Drums - Joey Baron
Guitar - Marc Ribot
Percussion - Cyro Baptista
Violin - Mark Feldman
16 The Ballad Of Hank McCain (Instrumental) 5:25
Keyboards - Jamie Saft
Percussion - Cyro Baptista


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Luli Shioi (1) / vocals
- Jim Staley (1,9) / trombone, bass trombone
- Bill Frisell (1,5) / guitar
- Anthony Coleman (1) / piano, harpsichord, organ, vocals
- David Weinstein (1,9) / Mirage, microcomputer
- Bobby Previte (1,2,5,9) / percussion, tympani, vocals, drums
- Jorge Silva (1) / surdo
- Claudio Silva (1) / pandeiro
- Cyro Baptista (1) / cuica
- Duduca Fonseca (1) / caixa
- Reinaldo Fernades (1) / repique
- Arto Lindsay (1,2,4,7) / batucada contractor, guitar, vocals
- John Zorn (1,2,4,7,8,9) / alto, saw, vocals, harpsichord, game calls, piano
- Orvin Aquart (2,10) / harmonicas
- Tim Berne (2) / alto
- Wayne Horvitz (2,6,7,8,9) / piano, organ, celeste, electronic keyboards
- Bob James (2,7,8,9) / tapes
- Anton Fier (2,4,6) / drums
- Toots Thielmans (3) / whistling, harmonica
- Guy Klucevsek (3) / accordion
- Carol Emanuel (3) / harp
- Fred Frith (4,7,9) / guitar, acoustic guitar
- Jody Harris (4,10) / guitar
- Melvin Gibbs (4,10) / bass
- Big John Patton (5) / organ
- Shelley Hirsch (5) / vocals
- Laura Biscotto (5) / sexy Italian vocals
- Vicki Bodner (6,7) / oboe, English horn
- Christian Marclay (6,9) / turntables
- Ned Rothenberg (7) / shakuhachi, ocarina, Jew's harp
- Michihiro Sato (7) / Tsugaru shamisen
- Diamanda Galas (8) / vocals
- Vernon Reid (8) / guitar
- Polly Bradfield (8) / violin
- Mark Miller (8) / drums, tympani
- Robert Quine (10) / guitar

Releases information

LP: Nonesuch 979 139-1 (US),Nonesuch/Icon 7559-79139-2 (Germany)
CD : Nonesuch 7559-79139-2 (US)

Recorded at Radio City Music Hall Studio Sept. 1984-Sept. 1985.
Additional recording at BC Studios and at Evergreen Studios.

CD re-release : Tzadik TZ 7328 (US,2000)

Thanks to Joren for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays The Music Of Ennio MorriconeThe Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays The Music Of Ennio Morricone
Nonesuch Records 1993
Audio CD$41.17
$0.76 (used)
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JOHN ZORN The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays The Music Of Ennio Morricone ratings distribution


3.05
(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
12%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
31%
Good, but non-essential (38%)
38%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)
6%

JOHN ZORN The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays The Music Of Ennio Morricone reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'The Big Gundown' was released in 1986. In the beginning John Zorn didn't wanted to accept the project,that was suggested to him by producer Yale Evelev, because he thought that Morricone's music was already too perfect in itself. But fortunately, as Morricone was one of Zorn's major influences he couldn't resist the temptation.

Now, John Zorn takes Morricone's music, strips it down to the bone, keeps only the essential and builds it up again, not so much a record of covers as re-incarnations. Zorn appropriates Morricone's music to himself.

The most important factor for Zorn in preparing the project was the choice of musicians: which musician was best to play the sound(s) that Zorn had in mind for each chosen Morricone composition on the record. Each track contains a carefully crafted combination of musicians (from completely different fields of music : Jazz, Blues, Rock, Avant-Garde, Classics) to produce the desired effect. Instead of taking one group and give the whole record an unique sound, Zorn assembles the musicians like a puzzle, not twice the same combination of musicians and not two tracks with the same athmosphere, exactly like Morricone choose different types of music for different films.

The musical width on 'The Big Gundown' ranges from Free Jazz influenced nervrecking guitar sawing like in 'The Big Gundown',' Metamorfosi', 'Once Upon a Time' to erotic soul :'Erotico' with Big John Patton's great organ playing, the Japonese Music influenced 'Giu La Testa', to the delicate 'Poverty' with Toots Thielmans on whistling and harmonica playing. On the Bonus Tracks there is even a possible 'hit single': 'The Ballad of Hank Mc Cain' with Mike Patton on vocals.

A brillant re-interpretation of Morricone classics.

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Send comments to Alucard (BETA) | Report this review (#68771) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars John Zorn is great experimentalist, his music varies from beautiful to interesting to inaccessible. But he is almost never boring. The Big Gundown is his first great album, and the successful basic for all the range of future "movie" serie works.

As it is stated in album name, Zorn recorded his tribute to great music soundtracks by Ennio Morricone. It means, that quite often you will be able to catch, what movie's soundtrack was taken as raw material for one or another composition.

But it is John Zorn, so all pieces are heavily reworked. Zorn uses different teams of musicians for each track, Bill Frisell and Fred Frith are between them. The music is very eclectic mix of some original movie sound from 60-70-ss, neoclassic minimalism, free jazz techniques, avant-noise inclusions, heavy-rock and blues moments as well. Some songs have vocals ( Tre Nel 5000 contains Diamanda Galas singing, and you will feel it at the very first moment!).

All in all album is a hot dish: some pieces are excellent, some noises are terrible, some sounds are out of place, and nothing is in balance, but just chaotically mixed. But all this build very strange and in it's own manner beautiful atmosphere, when you don't need to see movie to listen this soundtracks. They are kind of art by itself.

I agree, that this album is still raw in many places, but it is first really successful result of Zorn's "movie" eclectics, and it gave the roots to big green three of Zorn's most successful experimentations in future.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#259205) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 04, 2010

Review by Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars The Spaghetti Western Incident...

John Zorn plays the music of Ennio Morricone.

The Good: It's Ennio Morricone.

The Bad: It's John Zorn playing the music of Ennio Morricone. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy listening to John Zorn almost as much I enjoy listening to 'The Godfather' of film score, so this should've been a match made in heaven. However, after multiple listens the only way I can describe this is: the original works but with the addition of monkey noises, random screaming, and the occasional dissonant twiddling. Call it artistic interpretation if you will, I call it a waste of time.

The Verdict: Stick to the archetypes.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#439639) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review by Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars John Zorn: The Big Gundown [1986]

Rating: 5/10

The Big Gundown propelled John Zorn into the forefront of the avant-garde musical community. This album was a significant departure from most of what Zorn had done before. While the majority of his early releases consist of harsh and unmusical avant-garde noodling, this album places him in a much more constricted musical seat. Every track here is a cover of classic pieces from legendary film composer Ennio Morricone. Perhaps "cover" is an unfair term; this is still Zorn, after all. These compositions are radically altered ("avantified", if you will). Zorn really shows his creativity as an arranger here. He creates a new identity for these pieces, but they still manage to retain an element of their original purpose. However, the album does have a bit of an aimless feeling, and some of Zorn's alterations feel superfluous.

The title track begins with a somewhat pointless montage of vocal noises, but it eventually transitions into a very cool "avant-western" sound. It's a neat track, but it could have been cut in half. "Puer Sur La Ville" continues with the western vibe. The main paino riff is excellent, and the avant-grade noises actually fit in well. "Poverty (Once Upon a Time in America)" stays fairly close to the original Morricone composition. It works, but fails to be fully interesting. The driving rhythm of "Milano Odea" works well with the zany avant-garde sounds. "Erotico (The Burglars)" is my personal favorite on the album. The guitar, organ, and jazzy drumming all sound superb. "Battle of Algiers" is a jazzy march that ends up sounding quite repetitive after four minutes. "Gui La Testa (Duck, You Sucker!)" is a minimalistic tribal piece with shamisen and some sort of ethic flute. There are interesting sounds at work here, but the track as a whole is underwhelming. "Metamorfosi (La Classe Operaia Va In Paradiso)" is intolerable; it consists solely of random noises and moaning. "Tre Nel 5000" continues with the haphazard noise. This is another fairly useless track. "Once Upon a Time in the West" is an ambient western-themed piece. This is a somewhat interesting closer, but it runs a bit too long.

The Big Gundown is a good album, and I can understand why it is so acclaimed. However, the stronger moments here are weighed down by a handful of utterly useless tracks. Many of the alterations Zorn imposes on these compositions feel superfluous and needlessly bizarre. These are amazing pieces of music, and Zorn is able to put a unique on interesting spin on many of them. However, he muddles others with irritating noises and other avant-garde silliness. The result is an inconsistent release with many uninteresting moments. Nevertheless, this is an important Zorn release that I can't help but recommend to anybody interested in his work. Proceed with caution and tread lightly, however.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#532104) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2011

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