Search - John Zorn :: First Recordings, 1973

First Recordings, 1973
John Zorn
First Recordings, 1973
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: John Zorn
Title: First Recordings, 1973
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Tzadik
Original Release Date: 9/26/1995
Re-Release Date: 9/19/1995
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Experimental Music
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 702397730422

CD Reviews

This will blow your mind away (in some way or another)
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If this record was any less loco I would give it three stars but it isn't, so I won't. A very amusing record, but more in a sound-experimental way than in a musical way. I'm of course not saying that this isn't music, don't get me wrong. The longest piece on the record is three-act "Mikhail Zoetrope" (from 1974 and about 47 minutes long) which takes you through a very interesting journey of sounds from various instruments, kitchen tools, mouth sounds etc. If you wan't something extremly experimental and daring, then buy John Zorn's "First recordings 1973"."
Unique look into the early works of a genius.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 04/29/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"More valuable in a sense for its historical value than anything else, this CD is the first issuing of John Zorn's earliest records, from 1973 and 1974, at the ages of 19 and 20, fully predating his first release by five years (1978's "Lacrosse"), what's perhaps most frightening is how fully formed John Zorn, as both a musician and a composer, is at this point. Admittedly, his composition are a bit less coherent-- Zorn, known for his arranging prowess but these pieces are somewhat uneven in that category, and his saxaphone technique is not quite as fully formed as it would be either, and the influence of both Anthony Braxton and Pharoah Sanders looms heavily on his playing, but nonetheless, the music on this is interesting, unique, and fully John Zorn.

The opening suite, "Mikhail Zoetrope", Zorn describes as his most bizarre compositon-- largely overdubbed reed playing over samples, voices, groans and grunts (in some ways almost presaging Mike Patton's work with him), the piece as an extended composition works remarkably well. It does get a little repetitive here and there, and it loses some of its momentum midway through and starts to fall apart, but as a historical entity, its very clear where this would lead.

As odd as "Mikhail Zoetrope" is, "Conquest of Mexico" may be even moreso-- largely an electronic composition, built around loops, feedback, and samples, occasionally puncuated by mood drum hits and piano bursts, this one is a dense work of minimalist noise and generally an extraordinarily difficult listen at nearly 15 minutes for the entire suite. In many ways, zorn was ahead of his time, with looped samples and feedback-oriented music, but its a tough listen.

The remainder of the material is not organized into suites-- "Wind Ko/La" sounds like an attempt at an almost pop piece-- mostly guitar performed rhythmic figures with occasional goofy vocals is largely forgettable, but "Automata of Al-Jazari" is stunning-- at just over a minute, its the clear precursor (as zorn points out) to Naked City, specifically "Speedfreaks", every couple seconds it switches but remains largely coherent. The album closer, "Variations on a Theme by Albert Ayler", features samples from telephones off the hook, rushing wind, percussive figures, squealing saxaphone incoherently stating the "Ghosts" theme. It works remarkably better than one would suspect, given how primitive it is.

This is not a good place to start with Zorn, but as a historical document, its a fascinating look at his development. If you're a fan, check it out, its not likely to reach your heavy listening rotation, but it is certainly intriguing."