AMN Reviews: John Zorn – The Garden of Earthly Delights (2017; Tzadik)

8351Time flies. Two years ago I wrote a review of John Zorn‘s Simulacrum, the first release of his organ-based heavy metal trio consisting of John Medeski (Medeski, Martin, and Wood) on said organ, Kenny Grohowski (Abraxas) on drums, and Matt Hollenberg (Cleric) on guitar. And just last month their sixth album came out.

This time around they are joined by Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3) on bass for all tracks, as well as New-York-based experimentalist Sara Serpa on occasional vocals. The addition of these individuals, along with the contributions of Medeski, help shift the overall sound of The Garden of Earthly Delights away from the all-out technical metal / math rock attack of Grohowski and Hollenberg into a direction reflecting more jazz, blues, and atmospherics. Case in point, Dunn provides wandering bass lines while Hollenberg takes it down a notch and offers a handful of undistorted melodies. Medeski uses organ chording and slow themes to accentuate this approach. Serpa’s wordless vocals are used minimally, mainly on the final track. Once again, Zorn serves as composer, and does not perform.

But there remains a tension to this release – a push and pull between two sides of Zorn. On one hand, you have his “extreme” outlook, characterized in the past by his Painkiller releases. On the other, you have his more recent guitar trio work with Bill Frisell. These styles are not so much combined or mashed together, but integrated into a comprehensive whole. Overriding all of this is another type of tension – a sense of foreboding and unease. The addition of Dunn holding down the low end allows Medeski, Grohowski, and Hollenberg to produce near-ambient layers on top of one another.

There is a lot to like here if you are a fan of any of the aforementioned musicians. Perhaps the heavier parts please these ears the most, but even the slower sections contain labyrinthine exposes of Zorn’s idiosyncratic compositional approach as played by his veteran collaborators. Needless to say, there are plenty of ideas in The Garden of Earthly Delights, and multiple listens will be necessary to unravel its complexity.

Ned Rothenberg Starts New Season of Chicago’s Option Series

Ned Rothenberg at Appleby Jazz Festival 2007

Source: Bleader.

The superb Option series at Experimental Sound Studio returns next week following a hiatus since last October. Curators Ken Vandermark, Tim Daisy, and Andrew Clinkman have announced eight new events, including a kickoff Monday with the virtuosic reeds improviser Ned Rothenberg, giving his first local solo concert since 2013. The intimacy of ESS’s studio provides an optimal setting for Rothenberg’s playing, which builds on the extended techniques of Evan Parker—with whom he’s regularly collaborated—but brings a more serene, hypnotic flair that’s less driven by marathon flights of circular breathing. His technical mastery can certainly blow one’s mind, but he tends to situate such displays in concise chunks that explore a single idea or two.

Cuneiform Records Artists on Tour

Wadada Leo Smith

Source: Cuneiform Records.

REZ ABBASI
March 10 – Alternative Guitar Summit – Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St – NYC, NY

AHLEUCHATISTAS
March 23-26 – Big Ears Festival – Knoxville, TN

BENT KNEE
April 27 – Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – 280 Fenway – Boston, MA [opening for Ruby Rose Fox]
May 18-21 – FIMAV – Victoriaville, Quebec G6P 6T3 – Canada

RAOUL BJÖRKENHEIM / eCsTaSy
April 27 – Jazzahead! 2017 – Bremen, Germany

CHEER-ACCIDENT
September 15-17 – Rock In Opposition Festival – Cap D’ecouverte – Le Garric 81450, France

MICHAEL GIBBS : Gibbs at 80 – 80th birthday celebration!
September 22 – tba – Hamburg Germany
September 24 – tba – Scarbourough, UK
October 19 – Berklee School of Music – Boston, MA

THE GREAT HARRY HILLMAN [our latest signing! CD out in May!]
March 15 – Jazz Club Hirsch – Moosburg, Germany
March 17 – Teatro Villa Belvedere – Mirano [Ve], Italy
March 18 – Cafe des Arts – Torino, Italy
March 19 – Macao – Milano, Italy
March 20 – Schon Schön – Mainz, Germany
March 26 – Saxstall – Pohrsdorf, Germany [with Edi Nulz]
March 30 – BeJazz Transnational – Bern, Switzerland [with Edi Nulz]
May 6 – Apollo – Shimo-Kitazawa – Tokyo, Japan
May 7 – Gig – Yokohama, Japan
May 8 – Star Eyes – Nagoya, Japan
May 9 – Mokkiriya – Kanazawa, Japan
May 10 – UrBANGUILD – Kyoto, Japan
May 11 – Left Alone – Ashiya, Kobe, Japan
May 13 – Bird – Hiroshima, Japan
May 14 – Candy – Chiba, Japan
May 15 – Tokyo Club Meguro – Meguro, Tokyo, Japan
May 16 – Airegin – Yokohama, Japan
June 11 – Hot Club Ghent – Ghent, Belgium

GUAPO
September 15-17 – Rock In Opposition Festival – Cap D’ecouverte – Le Garric 81450, France

JOEL HARRISON
March 10 – Alternative Guitar Summit – Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St – NYC, NY
March 15 – Alternative Guitar Summit – National Sawdust – 80 North Sixth St – Brooklyn, NY

I.P.A.
March 22 – Teaterkafeen – Haugesund, Norway
March 23 – Spor 5 – Stavanger, Norway
March 24 – Bergen Jazzforum – Bergen, Norway
March 25 – Bømlo Jazzklubb – Bømlo, Norway
March 26 – Øystese – Kabuso, Norway

IDEAL BREAD
March 22 – Rye Bar – 247 South 1st Street – Brooklyn, NY – 10:30
May 14 – The Legion Bar – 790 Metropolitan Ave – Brooklyn, NY – 9:00

THE KANDINSKY EFFECT
April 13 – Wichita Jazz Festival – Wichiata, KS
April 28 – Reno Jazz Festival – Reno, NV
April 29 – Bakersfield Jazz Festival – Bakersfield,

LED BIB
March 9 – Schokalden – Berlin, Germany
March 10 – Jazzclub Tonne – Dresden, Germany
March 12 – MS Stubnitz – Hamburg, DE
March 13 – Porgy and Bess – Vienna, Austria
April 13 – Jazz Spot Candy – Chiba, Japan
April 14 – Velvet Sun – Tokyo, Japan
April 15 – tbd – Tokyo, Japan
April 16 – Nanya – Nogoya, Japan
April 17 – Big Apple – Kobe, Japan
April 18 – Pepperland – Okayama, Japan
April 19 – Jazz Riverside – Fukuoka, Japan
May 3 – Vortex – London, UK
May 4 – Vortex – London, UK
May 5 – Blue Orange Theatre – Birmingham, UK
May 6 – Fuse Art Space – Bradford, UK
May 7 – The Bridge Hotel – Newcastle, UK
May 8 – Bramley’s Bar – Canterbury, UK
May 12 – Jazztage Goerlitz, Goerlitz, UK

THE MICROSCOPIC SEPTET
April 2 – Small’s Jazz Club – 183 West 10th St, NYC, NY 10014
April 6 – The Falcon – 1348 Route 9W – Marlboro, NY 12542

MIRIODOR
September 15-17 – Rock In Opposition Festival – Cap D’ecouverte – Le Garric 81450, France
September 22 – La Casa di Alex – Milano, Italy
September 23-24 – Freakshow Art Rock Festival – Wurzburg, Germany

NAIMA
March 2 – Jamboree Jazz Club – Plaça Reial 17 – 08002 Barcelona, Spain – 22:00
April 6 – Bar Django – Thorvald Meyers gate 25 – 0555 Oslo, Norway
April 8 – Nordic Black Theatre – Hollendergata 8 – 0190 Oslo, Norway
April 29 – Jazz & Cookin’ Festival – Veles e Vents, Marina Real Juan Carlos I – 46024 València, Spain – 17:00
June 7 – Palau de la Musica – Passeig de l’Albereda, 30 – 46023 València, Spain – 20:00
July 14 – White Night Music Joint – Fontanka river embankment, 59 – Saint Petersburg, Russia
July 15 Petrojazz Festival – St Petersburg, Russia
September 7 – Amstel Arts – – Veles e Vents, Marina Real Juan Carlos I – 46024 València, Spain – 19:00

ED PALERMO
March 23 – Charity Concert for Musician’s Emergency Relief Fund – 322 West 48th St – NYC, NY [donation requested]
April 1 – The Falcon – 1348 Route 9W – Marlboro, NY 12542
April 10 – The Iridium – 1650 Broadway – NYC, NY
May 8 – The Iridium – 1650 Broadway – NYC, NY
June 3 – The Falcon – 1348 Route 9W – Marlboro, NY 12542
June 19 – The Iridium – 1650 Broadway – NYC, NY
August 19 – The Falcon – 1348 Route 9W – Marlboro, NY 12542
August 21 – The Iridium – 1650 Broadway – NYC, NY
October 28 – The Falcon – 1348 Route 9W – Marlboro, NY 12542
December 23 – The Falcon – 1348 Route 9W – Marlboro, NY 12542

RICHARD PINHAS
April 23 – Festival Prog-Resiste – Espace Victor Jara – 31 place van Zeeland – Soignies, Belgium

ADAM RUDOLPH’S GO ORGANIC GUITAR ORCHESTRA
March 11 – Alternative Guitar Summit – NUBLU – 151 Avenue C – NYC, NY

RAY RUSSELL
March 21 – Komedia – 44 Gardner St – Brighton, UK

DYLAN RYAN / SAND
March 10 – The Knitting Factory – Boise, ID (opening for Minus The Bear)
March 11 – The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT (opening for Minus The Bear)
March 12 – The Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO (opening for Minus The Bear)
March 13 – tbd – Omaha, NB

WADADA LEO SMITH
March 11 – Sheen Center – Loreto Theater – NYC, NY [as featured artist with Dave Douglas]
March 18 – Wadada Leo Smth & Pheeroan akLaaf duo – Institute of Contemporary Art – Philadelphia, PA – free!
March 25 – Wadada Leo Smith & Angelica Sanchez – Greenwich House – NYC, NY
April 8 – CREATE Festival – Firehouse 12 – 45 Crown St – New Haven, CT 06510
April 9 – CREATE Festival – Firehouse 12 – 45 Crown St – New Haven, CT 06510
June 8 – Wadada Leo Smith & Vijay Iyer – Ojai Music Festival – Libbey Bowl – Ojai, CA
June 15 – Wadada Leo Smith & Vijay Iyer – Zellerbach Hall – Berkeley, CA
July 18 – Wadada Leo Smith & Vijay Iyer – Molde Jazz Festival – Storyville Jazz Club – Molde, Norway
August 4 – Wadada Leo Smith & Vijay Iyer – Newport Jazz Festival – Newport, RI
October 13 – Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet – performing ‘Ten Freedom Summers’ – tba – Houston, TX
October 14 – Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet – performing ‘Ten Freedom Summers’ – tba – Austin, TX
October 15 – Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet – performing ‘Ten Freedom Summers’ – tba – New Orleans, LA

SONAR [First-ever Japanese tour!]
April 17 – Live Spot RAG – Empire Building, 5th floor, 521 Kamiosaka-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan
April 18 – Mokkiriya – 3-6 Kakinokibatake, Kanazawa 920-0999, Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa, Japan
April 19 – Jazz Flash, Giappone, 951-8065 Niigata Prefecture, Niigata, Japan
April 20 – Rakuya – Tokyo, Japan
April 21 – Nardis – Kashiwa, Japan
April 22 – Candy – 3 Chome-10-12 Inagehigashi, Inage Ward, Chiba, Chiba – Inage, Japan
April 23 – Airegin – 5-60 Sumiyoshicho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa – Yokohama, Japan