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John Zorn - News for Lulu (with  George Lewis / Bill Frisell) CD (album) cover


John Zorn



3.10 | 12 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars John Zorn's 1988 album is straight Jazz with no fusion embellishment, and thus only indirectly suitable for reviews on a website devoted to Progressive Rock. Even less so from a critic barely wet above the ankles in the larger ocean of Jazz Music, and making his first stop in a random chronological exploration of albums from this absurdly prolific artist and polymath.

The twenty tracks (three of them live) are trio arrangements of works by Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Sonny Clark, and Freddie Redd. And if (like me) you don't recognize any of those names, or hold any reverence for the Blue Note label recordings of the 1950s, this disc may not be for you.

And yet a certain avant-garde edge can be discerned in the line-up itself: alto sax, trombone, and muted electric bass, no drums, no keyboards. The economical soundstage gives the music an austerity belied by the vigor and pep of the actual playing: Hard Bop minimalism, and too cool for casual jazzheads like yours truly.

For non-jazzers the most attractive aspect of the album might be the photos in the CD booklet of silent film icon Louise Brooks (the album was of course named for her character in the 1929 G.W. Pabst classic "Pandora's Box"). Otherwise there's more to this project than I could ever hope to fully appreciate, in the interpretation and performances.

Dedicated boppers with an analytical mindset are encouraged to investigate it in depth, and add the appropriate number of stars.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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