Songs for Petra Haden
with Jesse Harris, Petra Haden, Julian Lage, Jorge Roeder & Kenny Wollesen
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.
SONGS FOR PETRA HADEN
The violinist and powerhouse vocalist Petra Haden has cut a jagged swath through music since the 1990s, turning up with the alt-rock band That Dog, the indie rock stalwarts The Decemberists, and the drone-metal enigma Sunn O))). She’s made album-length covers of The Who on her own and done dreamy pop songs with Bill Frisell. In 2020, Zorn and songwriter Jesse Harris (a Grammy winner for Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why”) wrote an album’s worth of new and rearranged songs for Haden — a unique and beautiful program written expressly to take advantage of Haden’s stunning range. She performs material from the album at Big Ears backed by a quintet featuring Harris, jazz guitar wizard Julian Lage, acclaimed Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder, and Zorn stalwart Kenny Wollesen on drums.