Bar Kokhba

This album is dark, contemplative, and utterly brilliant. A 2-CD set of Masada chamber ensembles, (all composed by Zorn) the music explores Jewish scales and modes in many contexts. There are echoes of jazz, classical, surf, avant-garde and klezmer in this captivating piece of work. The incredible variety of musical styles doesn't hurt the album, but rather enriches it.

The album is arranged so that the different players play with each other in small groups (the largest beings quartets on Nezikin and the second Sheloshim). Thus there is a lot of room for the musicians to improvise. In fact, two of the most moving tracks on the album are Anthony Coleman's solo take on Yechida, and Marc Ribot's 13:11 minute solo piece "Mochin."  There are tracks for jazz trio, string trio, guitar/bass, and clarinet/organ.

I highly recomend this album to anyone who enjoys contemplative, cerebral music, and enjoys many different genres of music. It should also be noted that this album is remarkably tonal for Zorn; very few of the tracks could be considered "out".

                  Mark Feldman: violin
                    Erik Friedlander: cello
                     Greg Cohen: bass
                     Marc Ribot: guitar
                   Anthony Coleman: piano
                   David Krakauer: clarinet
                  John Medeski: organ, piano
                        Mark Dresser: bass
                   Kenny Wolleson: drums
                    Chris Speed: clarinet
                   Dave Douglas: trumpet

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