AMN Reviews: John Zorn – Sacred Visions (2016; Tzadik)

8345There is something appealing about medieval music, even if one does not buy into the religiosity typically referenced therein. On Sacred Visions, the legendary saxophonist and composer John Zorn offers two pieces that are modern takes on the ancient.

The Holy Visions opens the album with five-voice, all-female contrapuntal choral music based on the life of Hildegard von Bingen. Subdivided into nearly a dozen sections over its 23 minutes, the track features both minimalistic themes, as well as the more chaotic breaks that Zorn is known for. Thus, this is not traditional church music in any sense, despite exhibiting a beatific feel at times. The vocals are not in English (Latin perhaps?) which adds to the mystical feel. At its best moments, The Holy Visions layers the voices in unusual arrangements and staggered lines that exceed the sum of their parts.

The Remedy of Fortune is a 15-minute string quartet inspired by 12th-century troubadour Guillaume de Machaut. Performed by the illustrious JACK Quartet, this piece exercises plucking and sawing, interspersed with flourishes and crescendos. A few medieval-sounding themes are quickly presented, then discarded. Despite Zorn’s basis of the piece, this is modern classical music. Discordant and disconnected, The Remedy of Fortune moves in unpredictable directions, exercising the full registers of the instruments. Often, the violins provide high-pitched atmospherics that are juxtaposed with uptempo runs from the viola and cello.

Upcoming Washington DC Area Shows

Wadada Leo Smith

On Saturday, February 11th, Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble. At Capital Fringe. Florida Avenue. WDC.

On Sunday, February 12th, Ancestral Duo with bassist Luke Stewsrt, and reedist/percussionist Jamal Moore, at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Library,

On Wednesday, February 15th, bassist Luke Stewart and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, at the Georgetown Day School.

On Saturday, February 25th, Heart of the Ghost, featuring Luke Stewart, Jarrett Gilmore, and Ian McColm, at Rhizome, at Rhizome, 6950 Maple Avenue, in Takoma DC.

On Saturday February 18th, at 7:00 pm, Musica Viva presents a Bethesda House Concert, at 6005 Milo Dr, Bethesda MD. Featuring the music of Schubert and Mozart, with Michael Vaughn on violin, James Woomert on viola, Jodi Beder on cello, Broc Mertz on bass, and Carl Banner on piano.

On SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH “B” FREE (in tribute to Dr. Acklyn Lynch), by KAHIL EL’ZABAR’S ETHNIC HERITAGE ENSEMBLE 20TH Year Annual DC Black History Month Performance, w/Kahil El’Zabar: drums, percussion, kalimba, voice, Corey Wilkes: trumpet, Alex Harding: baritone saxophone. SETS: 7PM & 8:30PM, @ THE FRINGE 1358 Florida Avenue, Washington. DC 20002

And on Friday March 31st, 7:30 pm at the Church of the Ascension<;, 633 Sligo Avenue in Silver Spring MD, Music Aviva presents the music of Martinu, Walker , and Bill Robinson , with Bonnie Thron on cello, and Carl Banner on piano.



February 4, 2017
Min Xiao-Fen & Satoshi Takeishi, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music
Satoshi Takeishi Min Xiao-Fen

February 4, 2017
Works with Min Xiao-Fen, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music
Rob Garcia Michel Gentile Daniel Kelly Min Xiao-Fen

January 30, 2017
Nicola Hein, Sam Weinberg, Henry Fraser, Devin Gray, 65 Fen
Henry Fraser Devin Gray Nicola Hein Sam Weinberg

January 30, 2017
Charmaine Lee & Nate Wooley, ShapeShifetr Lab
Charmaine Lee Nate Wooley

January 30, 2017
Brad Henkel, Nathaniel Morgan, Chris Welcome, Shayna Dulberger, 65 Fen
Shayna Dulberger Brad Henkel Nathaniel Morgan Chris Welcome

January 28, 2017
Marc Hannaford Trio, IBeam
Marc Hannaford Simon Jermyn Satoshi Takeishi

January 28, 2017
Jagged Spheres, IBeam
Devin Gray Elias Stemeseder Anna Webber

5049 Records Episode 102: Tim Berne/Matt Mitchell 

English: Tim Berne, jazz saxophonist; Picture ...

Source: 5049 Records.

Based in New York, Tim Berne is a prolific band leader and saxophonist who has been a central figure in the city’s creative jazz scene for over forty years. Since the very beginning, his work has been marked by intense creativity, soulfulness and a dogged spirit of independence. Among the many bands that he has lead over the years are Blood Count, Hard Cell, Paraphrase, Big Satan and others. On a recent Saturday, during an intense snow storm, I visited Tim at his home in Brooklyn, where we discussed his personal history, the current state of the NY jazz scene, his two new releases on Screwgun Records and a whole lot more. As an added bonus, today’s episode features a twenty five minute mini episode with pianist Matt Mitchell, discussing his new recording of interpretations of Tim Berne tunes for solo piano.

Musique Machine Reviews

Source: Musique Machine.

Allerseelen – Frühgeschichte III – Autdaruta
Steel Hook Prostheses – Calm Morbidity
Simon Scott – Floodlines
Mural – Tempo
Sumbru/Chier – La Proie Pour L’Ombre
Dosis Letalis – Souless Reign
Dead Body Collection – Iatrogenic Effect
Tunnels of Ah – Surgical Fires
T.O.M.B. – Fury Nocturnus
Sam Kidel – Disruptive Muzak
Sawako –

Coming to the Spectrum

English: American jazz bassist Scott Colley

Source: New York’s Spectrum.

– Complicated Europeans Festival Day 1: Ine Vanoeveren (Belgium) (Feb. 10)
Complete Ferneyhough Flute Music

– Complicated Europeans Festival Day 1: Jack Adler-McKean (Berlin) (Feb. 10)
Contemporary Tuba Music

– Complicated Europeans Festival Day 2: Marilyn Nonken, Lester St. Louis & Shiau-uen Ding (Feb.11)
Murail, Ferneyhough & Barrett

– Composers Concordance presents: Joplin 150 (Feb. 12)
Celebrating the 150th Birthday of Scott Joplin feat. Marija Ilic, Tristan Cano & Jacob Rhodebeck

– Hans Tammen’s Dark Circuits Series feat. John Morton & Scott Colley (Feb. 17)

– Gordon Beeferman – Organ Trio 2017 (Feb. 17)
Beeferman, Anders Nilsson & Ches Smith

– On the Spectrum presented by Gabriel Zucker (2 sets) (Feb. 18)

– Kate Sloat (Feb. 19)
Liebermann, Erickson & many more!

– The Sound and the Light: Chamber Music (Feb. 19)

– Lester St. Louis present *Improvisational/Experimental Series (Feb. 24) *Tentative

– Flin van Hemmen presents Canyon Jazz (Feb. 24)

– Unheard-of//Ensemble (Feb. 25)
Ford Fourqurean, Lauren Posey & Daniel Anastasio

– Imri Talgam (Feb. 26)

– Fidelio Trio (UK) (Feb. 26)