Masada: Live in Middelheim


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Masada: Live in Middelheim Review

by Steve Loewy

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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