This CD provides an exceptional overview of the work of John Zorn, as it collects numerous short works which exhibit his groundbreaking methods in structured improvisation known as game pieces, which are among his most highly acclaimed achievements of the '80s period. These works date from 1977 through 1989 and keep with the tradition of his widely known Cobra works, whereby Zorn harnessed the ferocity of free improvised music, avant-garde, and jazz and fused it with the sensibilities of European modern classical music. Xu Feng is named after the Chinese kung fu actress and the work is as dramatic, violent, and fast-paced as most of her onscreen appearances. A similar agility and artful aggression occurs during the performance by the ensemble of Chris Brown and David Slusser on electronics, Fred Frith and John Schott on guitars, and Slayer engine Dave Lombardo and avant-garde genius William Winant on drums and percussion. One of John Zorn's many outstanding works, the composer once again goes above and beyond listeners' expectations. Hearing this astonishing work, it is little wonder that John Zorn is often considered one of the more vital and influential figures in 20th century music.
AllMusic Review by Dean McFarlane