Album Review

Naked City – “Live- Vol 1 ” – [Tzadik]

Max Level   1/2/2006   CD, Jazz

High-flying quintet performing live in 1989 at NY’s Knitting factory. Supposedly the first release in a new Tzadik series of historical live Naked City recordings. John Zorn plays sax and leads his cohorts (Baron, Frisell, Frith, and Horvitz) through his insanely convoluted compositions. Electric jazz. Blues. Wacky funk. Country and western moments. Lots of stop/start. Swinging interludes interrupted by piercing shrieks. Also some covers of soundtrack music (Mancini, Goldsmith, etc) , less chaotic than the Zorn material. Final track is a swinging 10-minute jam featuring Horvitz on piano and some incredible guitar pyrotechnics by Frisell. Zorn said Naked City was all about seeing how far out he could go with a basic sax-guitar-keyboards-bass-drums lineup. He had the right players for the job, that’s for sure. Note: several of the tracks are under a minute long.

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