John Zorn

~ Person

Also performs as: Rav Tzizit


John Zorn (born September 2, 1953) is an American avant-garde composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist with hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, and producer across a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore, classical, surf, metal, klezmer, soundtrack, ambient and improvised music. He incorporates diverse styles in his compositions which he identifies as avant-garde or experimental. Zorn was described by Down Beat as "one of our most important composers".

Zorn established himself within the New York City downtown music movement in the mid-1970s performing with musicians across the sonic spectrum and developing experimental methods of composing new music. After releasing albums on several independent US and European labels, Zorn signed with Elektra Nonesuch and received wide acclaim with the release of The Big Gundown, an album reworking the compositions of Ennio Morricone. He attracted further attention worldwide with the release of Spillane in 1987, and Naked City in 1989. After spending almost a decade travelling between Japan and the US he made New York his permanent base and established his own record label Tzadik in the mid-1990s.

Tzadik enabled Zorn to maintain independence from the mainstream music industry and ensured the continued availability of his growing catalog of recordings, allowing him to prolifically record and release new material, issuing several new albums each year, as well as promoting the work of many other musicians. Zorn has led the hardcore bands Naked City and Painkiller, the klezmer/free jazz-influenced quartet Masada, composed over 600 tunes as part of the Masada Songbooks that have been performed by an array of groups, composed concert music for classical ensembles and orchestras, and produced music for opera, sound installations, film and documentary. Zorn has undertaken many tours of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, often performing at festivals with many other musicians and ensembles that perform his diverse output.

Zorn's compositions cross many genres and he has stated "All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I'm an additive person—the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can't see the connections, but they are there." For Zorn "Composing is more than just imagining music—it's knowing how to communicate it to musicians. And you don't give an improviser music that's completely written out, or ask a classical musician to improvise. I'm interested in speaking to musicians in their own languages, on their own terms, and in bringing out the best in what they do. To challenge them and excite them."

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1977 Lacrosse John Zorn 2
1978 School Eugene Chadbourne & John Zorn 1
1980 Hockey John Zorn 1
1980 Pool John Zorn 2
1981 Archery John Zorn 1
1982 Yankees Derek Bailey, George Lewis & John Zorn 1
1983 Locus Solus John Zorn 2
1983 The Classic Guide To Strategy - Volume One John Zorn 1
1985 Ganryu Island John Zorn & Sato Michihiro 2
1986 The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays the Music of Ennio Morricone John Zorn 3
1986 The Classic Guide To Strategy - Volume Two John Zorn 1
1987 Cobra: Studio Version John Zorn 3
1987 Spillane John Zorn 3 1
1988 News for Lulu John Zorn, George Lewis & Bill Frisell 1
1989 Spy vs. Spy: The Music of Ornette Coleman John Zorn 5 5
1990 Naked City John Zorn 4.5 2
1991 Deadly Weapons Steve Beresford / David Toop / John Zorn / Tonie Marshall 1
1992 More News for Lulu John Zorn, George Lewis & Bill Frisell 1
1992 Elegy John Zorn 3
1993 Kristallnacht John Zorn 3
1994 The Art of Memory John Zorn & Fred Frith 1
1995 First Recordings 1973 John Zorn 1
1995 Redbird John Zorn 1
1995 The Book of Heads John Zorn 1
1995 Harras Derek Bailey, John Zorn & William Parker 1
1995 John Zorn's Cobra: Tokyo Operations '94 John Zorn 1
1996 The Classic Guide to Strategy: Volumes One & Two John Zorn 1
1996 Bar Kokhba John Zorn 1
1997 New Traditions in East Asian Bar Bands John Zorn 1
1997 Duras: Duchamp John Zorn 1
1997 Euclid's Nightmare John Zorn & Bobby Previte 1
1998 Angelus Novus John Zorn 1
1998 The Circle Maker John Zorn 1
1998 Downtown Lullaby John Zorn & Wayne Horvitz & Elliott Sharp & Bobby Previte 1
1998 Aporias: Requia for Piano & Orchestra John Zorn 1
1998 The Bribe John Zorn 1
1998 Music for Children John Zorn 1
1998 1977-1981 Eugene Chadbourne and John Zorn 1
1999 Godard / Spillane John Zorn 1
1999 The String Quartets John Zorn 1
1999 Taboo and Exile John Zorn 1
2000 Xu Feng: John Zorn's Game Pieces, Volume I John Zorn 1
2000 Cartoon S/M John Zorn 1
2001 The Gift John Zorn 1
2001 Madness, Love and Mysticism John Zorn 1
2001 Songs from the Hermetic Theater John Zorn 1
2002 Cobra: John Zorn's Game Pieces, Volume 2 John Zorn 1
2002 IAO John Zorn 1
2003 Masada Guitars John Zorn 1
2003 Voices in the Wilderness John Zorn 1

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