Tonight (Monday 2nd) from 11pm, BBC’s Jazz on 3 is celebrating the 60th birthday of composer, multi-instrumentalist and avant-garde firestarter John Zorn. The programme will be honouring his varied and prolific career with archive performances from his Bar Kokhba and Masada groups, plus BBC 6 Music’s Stuart Maconie joins Jez Nelson to share his favourite Zorn records and discuss the composer’s output from thrash-jazz to film music.
Presenter Jez Nelson offers a taste of what’s to come: “Perhaps the crowning glory of John Zorn’s portfolio is the Masada Songbooks – two volumes comprising over 500 compositions based on traditional Jewish scales. Both of our featured performances draw on this material and we begin with Bar Kokhba, a group which Zorn leads as a conductor with a line up of strings and percussion. (…) In our second archive recording we hear from Masada, a quartet comprising Zorn on alto saxophone alongside Dave Douglas on trumpet, Greg Cohen on bass and Joey Baron on drums. Highlights include ‘Paran’ where klezmer meets Ornette Coleman, and includes some breathtakingly intense exchanges between Zorn and Douglas who are an incredible frontline pairing.”