Masada

Masada: Live in Middelheim

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    9
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Every album by John Zorn's Masada seems better than the last, and this one is no exception. By the time of this recording the group was a tightly cohesive unit, performing at an extremely high and satisfying level, with Zorn and Dave Douglas playing comfortably at a blistering pace. The songs are tinged with hints of Eastern European harmony, but the heat generated, while perhaps related to the raucous dancing at a Jewish wedding, is firmly rooted in the ways of avant-garde jazz. Zorn takes some of his best solos on disc, sounding like silly putty on speed, while the more proper Douglas lags only slightly behind. With a recording time nearing 80 minutes, and substantial contributions from the entire quartet, the recording marks not so much a milestone in the life of the group as a symbol of its ability to constantly expand upon itself and draw on its not inconsequential roots, proving again that you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy Jewish-tinged culture.

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