Uri Caine and Cyro Baptista
In the months since the “Final Acoustic Masada” appearances, there have been a number of developments in John Zorn’s presentation of the Masada material. This past week saw a few shows in Europe reflecting this new phase. John’s preference at this point seems to be exposing multiple facets of the Masada music in one night or over the course of a week: from solos to string trio or guitar trio, from various quartets up to sextets and larger, sometimes with electronics. It’s an approach that gets at the real variety and depth found in the book, showing not only how many different kinds of pieces are in it, but how many ways it can be played.
This week saw the first shows of what feels like a whole new band: the Masada acoustic quartet (John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Greg Cohen, Joey Baron), plus Uri Caine on piano and Cyro Baptista on percussion. There was an incredible amount of electricity for what is essentially a totally acoustic band. The new tunes (Book 2, Book of Angels) drive the music in unexpected new directions and provoke unusual instrumental combinations. And the old tunes exploded into completely new territory, each one we played reinventing itself with new improvisational dimensions. At this point I’ve lost track of how many tunes there are. No matter, apparently there is a third book coming.