FESTIVAL – Zorn Masada Marathon – 5K

festival-posterBy Peter Maddern

If last night’s Zorn Marathon is any guide, those attending his remaining Festival gigs are in for a treat. It reflects mightily on both the Festival and its director, David Sefton, that this highly ambitious series has happened at all – it can’t have been an easy sell to those with the purse strings that they fund hauling 40 musos to Adelaide like this (about 24 of which graced the stage last night). But last night, like other events this year (Roman Tragedies, The Seagull, Snowtown: Live) will likely go down in Festival folklore.

For this reviewer, the first half was a delight of immense proportions and the better of the two halves. Right form the opening notes Zorn and friends embarked upon invention on a grand scale, an unrelenting high wire pursuit of the unique. The six movements were as much visually a spectacle as an aural experience.

johnzorn_bwZorn himself was clad in a red t-shirt and camo trousers; one can only assume he arrived with his ‘performer pass’ for entry to the complex may otherwise have been denied him – certainly the casino behind wouldn’t have let him in. And apart from the opening number, a frenzied dance of themes and energy with Dave Douglas’s trumpet, Joey Baron on drums and Greg Cohen on bass, Zorn kept his saxophone at bay til the last, instead preferring to intervene every so often on the stage with a little encouragement, acknowledgment or direction.

Indeed, even at age 60, Zorn pranced excitedly around all night, seemingly luxuriating in the company of his many friends, as if downing a few cold ones with them at his own 21st birthday.

In the second half, Zorn sat on the stage before his string trio of Mark Feldman (violin), Erik Friedlander (cello) and Greg Cohen as they worked many of his Morricone adaptations, in a movement that while not short on vigour allowed the audience a closer appreciation of the music and the skill.

The last movement, the Electric Masada, was for bulls but in the jungle and not the china shop, with three drums thrashing away as Zorn himself led the wind charge wedged between Marc Ribot’s guitar and Ikue Mori’s electronics and Cyro Baptista’s sublime percussion.

Get tickets if you can to a very special series of concerts.

Kryztoff Rating  5K

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