The Sonny Clark Memorial Quartet
Black Saint : 1986
John Zorn, alto sax; Wayne Horvitz, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; Bobby Previte, drums.
Many thanks to everyone who took part in our two contests last week. We were impressedÂ at the number of correct guesses for our blindfold test — and we were even impressed by the wrong guesses.Â Â The songÂ was “Minor Meeting” from the album above. Congratulations to…
Joshua Weinstein of St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Joshua’s first record: Neil Diamond, The Jazz Singer
(We asked the winners to name their first record ever bought or owned. Just cuz. Oddly, The Jazz Singer was Drew’s first record, too.)
As for our contest of pure chance, the winning number was 39. The winner picked the number right on the nose. Clairvoyant, practically. Congratulations to…
Jem MichelitchÂ of Arlington, Virginia, USA.
Jem’s first record: Jan & Dean, Dead Man’s Curve
(As it happens, Jem also correctly identified the mystery track.)
Both of our lucky winners will receive CD copies of Dave Burrell’sÂ Momentum and Sonic Liberation Front’sÂ Change Over TimeÂ - courtesy of the fine folks at High Two.Â Given the success of this first go, we hope to re-run a similar contest in a month or so.
& & & & &
Now that the collective blindfold has been removed, here are two more tracks from Voodoo -
Though primarily Horvitz’s date, Zorn ends up the dominant voice. Like News for Lulu, this album was another early indication that there was more to Zorn than mere noise terrorism par excellence. AÂ somewhat left-field part of his catalog, it’s not a pandering exercise or an attempt to prove to naysayers that he can play it straight. It’s much more a heartfelt love letterÂ to a musician that adventurous jazz fans may be likely to dismiss — ifÂ he isÂ considered at all.
The title track is a slinky, Mancini-like slice of blue quietude. If not quite enough to animate the dead, it does give everyoneÂ ample room to come alive. Horvitz’s opening statement reveals his easy sympathy with this material; Previte takes a few liberties, before Zorn slides in sideways and alternates boppish runs with screechy squeals. Though this kind of outside-in approach can feel like novelty, Zorn’sÂ spastic breaks don’t seem at all like fuck-the-tradition nihilism; more an elbow poked in tradition’s ribs. Drummond keeps everyone honest.
“Cool Struttin'” is simply one of the great bop themes; the original features Clark with Paul Chambers, Jackie McLean, Art Farmer, and Philly Joe Jones. As befits such a wonderful song, Horvitz and company don’t try to do too much with it. Drummond and Previte are especially locked in, allowing Horvitz and Zorn the freedom to stray as out as they wanna go. Which, here,Â is not really that far.