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John Zorn

From Academic Kids

John Zorn (born September 2, 1953 in New York City) is a American composer and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist. He owns the Tzadik record label and has worked with a large number of experimental musicians, particularly in improvised music, modern classical music and jazz, though he has produced music in most styles.

Zorn's primary instrument is the alto saxophone
Zorn's primary instrument is the alto saxophone
As a child, he played piano, guitar and flute. He went to college in St. Louis where he discovered free jazz, before dropping out and moving to Manhattan. There he gave concerts in his small apartment, playing a variety of reeds, duck calls, tapes, etc; almost anything. In the mid 1980s he signed to the Elektra-Nonesuch label. Since then, Zorn has been quite prolific, usually putting out several new records each year. His breakthrough recording was perhaps 1985's The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays the Music of Ennio Morricone, wherein Zorn offered a number of often radical arrangements of Morricone's famed songs from various movies. The Big Gundown was endorsed by Morricone, and incorporated elements of traditional japanese music, soul jazz, and other diverse musical genres.

Zorn's recorded output includes records by three bands of his own, Masada (an Ornette Coleman-influenced jazz band playing a set of compositions based on Jewish scales), Painkiller (a mix of grindcore and free jazz in which he is joined by Mick Harris of Napalm Death) and Naked City (an often aggressive mix of jazz, rock and thrash metal). He has also worked with musicians like Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, Keiji Haino, Bill Laswell and Mike Patton. He has written music for television and film, which has been collected in the ongoing Filmworks series of records on his Tzadik label. Some of these are jazz-based, others are classical.

He has also written several "game pieces", in which performers are allowed to improvise while following certain structural rules. These works are in the main named after sports, and include Pool, Archery and Lacrosse, as well as Cobra. He is also often noted for his postmodern, sometimes extreme, use of formal blocks, units which he combines and contrasts in various ways.

External links

fr:John Zorn pl:John Zorn pt:John Zorn

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