Zong Book is the solo CD saxophonist Daunik Lazro needed to establish himself outside of Europe as one of the leading baritone blowers -- and a great altoist too. This highly underrated improviser possesses a huge palette of techniques and colors, and most of them are displayed here. Recorded over two studio sessions almost three years apart (January 1997 and November 1999), this CD offers eight free improvs, plus a beautiful rendition of Albert Ayler's "In Heart Only" (a nice change from "Ghosts" or "Mothers" avant-garde players usually cover). On the two "Monotonic" pieces (both performed on baritone), Lazro focuses on circular breathing and multi-phonics, creating strange landscapes with puzzling sonorities -- "Monotonic 2" is simply mind-boggling, going farther than anything Evan Parker has recorded. "Formule 1" showcases him as a power player, displaying Peter Brötzmann-like energy. There are no easy shortcuts, no over-indulgent clichés in his playing. Even when he sets into a softer mood, as on "Zong From Evananjoe," his lines are ornamented with complex parallel thoughts. Zong Book is not about technique and virtuosity; it is one saxophonist tapping into his inner self and bringing it out. Beautiful and sincere.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture