Was just listening to the Naked City this weekend. I believe that their first album is the only one that is still in print. I would love some other suggestions on his material.
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Mike: Zorn is is so eclectic that it is impossible to recommend anything based on taste, because my taste might not be your thing. I prefer his most radical avant gardism, like the titles I listed above. I like found object sounds, 'non-musical instrument' sounds, and things that break with traditional harmonic/rhythmic structures. I
Having said that, I would check out the following albums: The Crucible, Electric Masada, The Mirror of Maya Deren, Taboo and exile.
Masada Live in Seville is one of my favorite CDs. Zorn's technique of setting up a bleating drone with his mouthpiece and then overlaying it with key stops provides a great, percussive element to the quartet that is great counterpoint to Joey Baron's work on traps. Everybody else is great too, especially Baron, who may be my favorite drummer currently playing.
I caught on to him with Naked City and Spillane, and over the years have stayed mostly with the more accessible Filmworks series and almost anything with Marc Ribot. Filmworks Anthology 1986-2005 is a good introduction to these sounds. My favorite Masada album is Sanhedrin-- some of the best experimental jazz of the '90s.
Zorn is so broad and some albums can feel like wandering into the wrong wedding party. I'm safer if I avoid anything with Mike Patton's voice.
The big gundown was my first Zorn cd after hearing him live many many times. Painkiller especially for heavy thrashing and Naked City Radio is a hoot, as in some incredible start stop all over the place hysteria. Nobody mentioned Locus Solus which is one of my favorites : ) electric masada 50th birthday cd is so jammin it aint funny, sometimes you do get a little cracked up especially if you see the reactions of co-workers faces when playing it.
"A bookshelf on top of the sky" is a great documentary which I watch over and over to view this what I consider musical genius at work. Those who've experienced Zorn at what used to be named t.o.n.i.c. in nyc no doubt know it so.