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John Zorn, Elbphilharmonie

New York composer, improviser, alto saxophonist and organist John Zorn has been taking his entire repertoire on tour in recent times, colonizing venues and festivals, immersing audiences in his variegated musical strategies.

A Percussion Orgy in Tennessee

After two years of pandemic silence, the Big Ears Festival came roaring back in March. Hordes of musicians carpetbagged Knoxville’s sleepy downtown for a long weekend of experiment and extravagance.

Diary of a Mad Composer

In 1964, Dizzy Gillespie ran for president as a write-in candidate. The campaign wasn't serious, and I have no opinion on Gillespie's ability to administer the executive branch and America's laws—although I am intrigued by the idea of Miles Davis as the CIA director and Malcolm X as Attorney General—but the idea has been simmering in my head since I first found out about this, in my teenage years.

Worlds Collide

This extraordinary tale tracks a season among seasonal female workers in northern Italy, doing the back-breaking work of rice planting and processing. One of the centerpiece moments in this story is a nighttime gathering of workers, many of them clustered around the alluring figure of Silvana Mangaro, dancing to American boogie-woogie on the phonograph.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2022

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