Nove Cantici Per Francesco D’Assisi
With Bill Frisell, Gyan Riley & Julian Lage
The saxophonist John Zorn is “the most prolific and polarizing figure in New York’s downtown scene” and “a major American composer whose work crosses just about every stylistic boundary imaginable” (The New York Times). In four decades, Zorn has released dozens of albums on his own label, Tzadik; their contents are famously varied, ranging from riotous jazz interpretations of Ennio Morricone and hardcore punk versions of Ornette Coleman to orchestral and choral music. As the uncontested icon of the American avant-garde, Zorn’s only conventions are collaboration, curiosity, and an unquenchable conviction that the story of music is still unfolding. An all-star cast performs eight different programs of his work at Big Ears.
NOVE CANTICI PER FRANCESCO D’ASSISI
Though Zorn’s noisier compositions naturally draw the most attention, he works just as strikingly at the other extreme: beauty. That was shown in 2020, when he blended two generations of master guitarists—Bill Frisell, Gyan Riley, and Julian Lage, who recently made his Blue Note debut, Squint—to record Nove Cantici Per Francesco D’Assisi, a Spanish guitar tribute to the joyful Saint Francis of Assisi. All About Jazz called the songs “beautifully airy” and said that the trio “gives the compositions a mix of nuance and accent which brings feelings to life.”