Masada Quartet feat: Joe Lovano -][- Book Of Angels: Stolas Vol-12 – [Tzadik, 2009]
Stolas: The Book of Angels, Vol. 12 is the newest installment in John Zorn’s ongoing Book of Angels series, and possibly the best yet. For most Zorn fans, I would imagine that this part of the series would be particularly exciting, as it features the studio return of the Masada Quartet (Zorn on alto sax, Dave Douglas on trumpet, Greg Cohen on bass, and the great Joey Baron on drums), with some augmentations; Joe Lovano on tenor sax replaces Zorn and pianist Uri Caine is added. Despite the relative change in the lineup, the Masada Quintet plays with all the tightness, taste and musical intuition of a band together for years. Lovano adds a more round, even tone, and isn’t as aggressive or abrasive in his playing as Zorn (although he is capable of some fire). This makes for a more relaxed, evenly-tempered Masada. Uri Caine’s piano adds a lot of harmonic flavor without limiting the players, and adds some interesting solos like the Cecil Taylor-like one on “Sartael”.
The pieces, all by Zorn, feature memorable themes, fun grooves, and plenty of space for both the individual and the ensemble to shine, as well as some entertaining, interactive out playing, although nothing really on the level of the fiery, intimidating previous Masada quartet releases. (The only things that come close are “Sartael”, a speedy, energetic blowing session driven by Baron’s forceful drumming, and “Rahtiel”, the only piece that features Zorn on alto.) Cohen and Baron are a world-class rhythm section as always, adding plenty of propulsive force, groove, and melodic color. This is a worthy addition to the Masada catalog and a rewarding listen. —Art Johnson | Amazon.com
..:: Source: Amazon.com ::..