Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Masada Live In Taipei 1995
Genres: Folk, World Music, Jazz, Pop, Classical
The indefatigable John Zorn formed his quartet version of Masada to release an album for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, making this band core to the Radical Jewish Culture movement in Downtown New York improvised musi... more »
Listen to Samples
The indefatigable John Zorn formed his quartet version of Masada to release an album for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, making this band core to the Radical Jewish Culture movement in Downtown New York improvised music. To set the band up for their barrage of recordings, Zorn cranked out dozens of compositions utilizing a mix of musical languages, creating a free-bop klezmer that sounds like Ornette Coleman's looking proudly on. This live set captures Masada in Taipei, playing so heatedly that you almost don't notice the audio vérité quality of the recording. Sounding a lot like a bootleg, Taipei has an added edge thanks to the tinny percussion sound and washed-out horn dynamics. It sounds thrashy and speedy even when trumpeter Dave Douglas, drummer Joey Baron, and bassist Greg Cohen are inching along in sultry slowness. Recorded in 1995, Taipei catches Masada a year after their Live in Jerusalem 1994, which boasts better audio. What Taipei has on Jerusalem, though, is a fury that's a more all-out explosion when Zorn rips through staccato bursts and out-of-register squawks. --Andrew Bartlett
Some Insight from the Source
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording comes from a four-night run by Masada from May 22 through 25, 1996 (not 1995 as claimed in the title) at Taipei's Crown Theater, which is actually a dance studio and not much of a performance hall. The venue is rectangular, with the audience stretching along its width. This resulted in a lot of front-back reflection of the brass and the drums and bass dissipating into the corners. Plus, with the band facing a wide but shallow audience space, their orientation was not fixed in any particular direction, compounding the poor acoustics of the venue.I mention this because I recorded all four nights with a Sony D8 DAT tape machine and binaural microphones clipped onto the ear pieces of my glasses. I traded the tapes with other bootleg collectors and the tapes were passed on to John Zorn, who had the wisdom to release them on his Tzadik label. Like many others, I'm a Masada nut, and those four nights in Taipei were by far the most sublime musical experiences of my life. The audience was charged, the band picked up on the vibe and carried it further, and the results were sublime and often cathartic. After the last encore of the final night, Dave Douglas was literally lying on the floor of the dressing room with a big red imprint from his mouthpiece etched on his lips, looking like an athlete that had been physically exhausted but held on through mental fortitude and adreneline until he crossed the finish line.I admit the sound quality isn't professional, but it's still damn good and certainly clear and balanced enough to allow the magic that took place in that odd little dance studio to shine through and touch the listener with the drive, energy, rapport, and even restraint that Masada exhibits at its very best.Enjoy!"
Didn't sound that bad to me!?!?!
Melkor | San Diego, CA USA | 02/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I guess I should count myself lucky. This is the first, and to date only, Masada CD that I have bought. I found the music transcendent and inspiring. I consider myself lucky, because I have been listening to this disc for at least a year, and didn't even notice the sound problems that most of the other reviewers are complaining about. Maybe it's because I listen to a lot of underground punk bands who sound like they were recorded in a tin can, but the sound on "Live in Taipei" has been crisp enough for my ears. If you think the sound here is bad, then you've never heard "Junkyard" by The Birthday Party. One of the best albums ever made, and it sounds like the microphone was in between two mattresses while they were recording it. I guess different people can handle different levels of quality. With all the complaints, I can't wait to hear what the better Masada CDs sound like, because I really like this one.I am a fan of improvisational jazz; but I have very picky tastes. I first came to John Zorn through the band Painkiller. I am a Justin Broadrick fanatic, and pick up every disc in which he has involvement (even though Justin was only a "guest" in Painkiller). Reading the liner notes, I learned about John Zorn, and realized that my CD store had well over 60 different titles from him. I picked up several based on cover art or guest artists (such as Mick Harris, Bill Laswell, or Mike Patton). I avoided the Masada CDs for quite a while, partially because there were so many of them, and I didn't know which one to choose. Eventually I picked up "Live in Taipei" because the price was low, and it was a two disc set.I love this CD. I have played it loud and often. The music is manic and wild, but never repetitive or so dissonant that it becomes annoying (though, I think it did bother my neighbors when I played it a little too loud one day). I guess I'll give it four and a half stars, simply because everyone seems to think the sound is so much better on all the other Masada CD's available. Honestly though, the sound quality never bothered me. This might make a good first Masada CD, because I sure want to get more of them after listening to this one."
Jamie Graves | Westport, CT United States | 01/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sound quality of these discs may be distracting, but the music is so inspired that it shines through the quality. While the other live Masada discs are all good, none of them seem to capture the experience of seeing the band live: this is one of their finest performances, and you can hear the band stretching itself out, taking chances which occasionally goof but more often produce astounding results. This album flat out swings more than any other Masada album out there. Of the fifteen available albums, this is my favorite by Masada."