When Two Jazz Greats Collide.

Jul 22, 2013

Pat Metheny plays John Zorn.     And why not?     While Zorn is best known for his sometimes difficult, avant-garde jazz, Metheny is no stranger to blistering experimentation.   On Tap: The Book of Angels, Vol. 20, Metheny returns to a style he worked in 1994 with Ornette Coleman (‘Song X’), solo in 1994 ('Zero Tolerance for Silence') and then with Derek Bailey in 1996 ('Sign of 4').

John Zorn is a widely creative, prolific and hugely respected musician.   In addition to his wide range of jazz, rock, and classical performances in the New York City downtown scene, he establishes and artistically directs music venues (Tonic, and now The Stone) as well as composes innumerable film soundtracks.   

Since 2004, many notable musicians have been mining the many volumes of his 300+ Masada compositions, all of which follow the ancient scales of traditional Jewish music.   Tap: The Book of Angels is the 20th volume to be released, this time jointly by Zorn’s own Tzadik label and on Metheny’s regular outlet, Nonesuch.

Except for drummer Antonio Sanchez, Pat Metheny plays all the instruments on this album.  As a technical guitar master, Metheny layers acoustic and electric guitar with piano, flugelhorn, bells and more.   The tracks range from frenetic and scorching to pensive and reflective, through to complex melodic playfulness.  It is an eclectic recording that rewards repeated listening and is a definite highlights of two very esteemed careers.

Metheny performs at Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival, August 25 - September 1 at the Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork, Montana.

The following episode of Blue Dimensions, a weekly one-hour public radio program of blues, jazz, international folk, and world music, features part of Tap (about five and a half minutes in) as well as other recordings of both Metheny and Zorn.