with Kenny Grohowski, Matt Holllenberg & John Medeski
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.
Billed as “the most extreme organ trio ever,” Zorn’s 2015 album Simulacrum clasps guitarist Matt Hollenberg of avant-metal grinders Cleric and drummer Kenny Grohowski of the spoken-word jazz-funk band Dapp Theory around the organ prowess of none other than John Medeski. The result of this collision of worlds tests the bounds of classification even for Zorn, with elements of metal and jazz reacting with minimalist prog and torrents of noise. PopMatters calls it the perfect album “for those who were afraid John Zorn might be getting soft.”