John Zorn (b. 1953)

Celestial Subway Lines / Salvaging Noise (with John Zorn and Ikue Mori) (2005) by Ken Jacobs

John Zorn (born September 2, 1953 in New York City) is an American avant-garde composer, arranger, record producer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist. Zorn is a prolific artist; he has hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, or producer. He has had experience with a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical, extreme metal, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular, and improvised music. Zorn brings these styles to his work, which he refers to with the label avant-garde/experimental.

Zorn has stated: "All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I'm an additive person - the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can't see the connections, but they are there."

Zorn has led the punk jazz band Naked City and the klezmer-influenced quartet Masada, composed Masada Songbooks (written concert music for classical ensembles), and has produced music for film and documentary.

Zorn established himself within the New York City downtown music movement in the mid-1970s and has since composed and performed with a wide range of musicians working in diverse musical areas. From about 1986 to 1996 Zorn worked extensively in Japan, returning to New York as a permanent base in the mid-1990s. Zorn has undertaken many tours of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, often performing at festivals with varying ensembles to display his diverse output.

After releasing albums on several independent US and European labels, Zorn signed with Elektra Nonesuch and attracted wide acclaim in 1985 when he released The Big Gundown, a cover of music composed by Ennio Morricone. He attracted further attention worldwide by following this with the release of Spillane in 1987, and Naked City by Naked City in 1989.Zorn then recorded on the Japanese DIW label and curated the Avant subsidiary label before forming Tzadik in 1995, where he was prolific in issuing several new recordings each year as well as releasing the work of many other musicians.

John Zorn in UbuWeb Sound