John Zorn

John Zorn

Tradition and Transgression
John Brackett
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/19/2008
Format: Paperback 28 b&w photos, 46 figures
ISBN: 978-0-253-22025-7
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Description

John Zorn is one of the most prolific and active American composers/performers working today. He has been a fixture of New York's "Downtown Scene" since the mid-70s as a tireless proponent of avant-garde and experimental music. Despite the acclaim and respect he has achieved in America and abroad, very little attention has been paid to Zorn by musicologists or music theorists. Author John Brackett suggests that the reason for the relative paucity of writing on Zorn's music and musical thought has to do with the difficulties and challenges they present both for listeners and scholars. Zorn's musical language—an amalgam of seemingly incongruous techniques, sounds, styles, and genres—creates complex and sometimes confusing listening experiences that are difficult to categorize in terms of overarching thematic or narrative design. Brackett offers a number of perspectives for understanding Zorn's music and musical practices, while challenging certain assumptions that limit the ways in which contemporary music is typically addressed.

Author Bio

John Brackett lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Reviews

“While offering a number of perspectives for understanding Zorn's music and musical practices, this book challenges certain assumptions that limit the ways in which contemporary music is typically addressed. "A historically situated set of analyses is just what John Zorn deserves as a major artist of our time. The present volume will be important in furthering an understanding of his work." —George Lewis, Columbia University”

“Brackett's groundbreaking book . . . confronts Zorn's contradictory modes of expression that couple the aesthetics of Stravinsky, Boulez, Duchamp and Godard with the transgressive sexuality and violence of Bataille, Genet and Maruo, brilliantly demonstrating how these powerful dualities of thought—real yet fantastic, pleasing yet horrifying—synergize to make Zorn's compositional voice unique and seminal in the 21st century.”
 — Severine Neff, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“A historically situated set of analyses is just what John Zorn deserves as a major artist of our time. The present volume will be important in furthering an understanding of his work.”
 — George Lewis, Columbia University

“[T]he book is a heady brew of fascinating ideas, analyses, conjectures, and unifying theories, which presents some masterful strategies for the 'game of analysis' to which Zorn challenges all comers. Vol. 5, No. 1”
 — Critical Studies in Improvisation

“Brackett has made an indispensible contribution to scholarship a subject that deserves many more important books, and he has set the bar high for future authors. December 2009”
 — Notes

“As the first book of scholarship on this multifaceted artist, John Zorn . . . accomplishes a great deal and should initiate a new and more serious phase in Zorn's treatment at the hands of academic authors. Winter 2010”
 — American Music

“Though his book plumbs depths of theory and esoteric cultural history that may interest only the most hardcore Zorn and experimental-art fans, those very depths make it an invaluable guide to the aesthetic methods and motivations of an artist who pays homage to the old as he seeks to make it new. August/September 2009”
 — Bloom Magazine

“. . .scholar John Brackett moves away from the clichéd interpretation of Zorn as a postmodernist . . . to offer a more nuanced interpretation, one that considers his role as historian and caretaker of earlier artworks. June 2009”
 — AllAboutJazz-New York

“Brackett offers a number of perspectives for understandign Zorn's music and musical practices, while challenging certain assumptions that limit the ways in which contemporary music is typically addressed.January 26, 2009”
 — www.avantmusicnews.com

“. . . Brackett does a thorough job of addressing the various complexities and contradictions found in Zorn's body of work. The author provides a well-grounded starting point for exploring Zorn's output . . . May 2009”
 — Choice

“. . . [Brackett's] passion for Zorn's work is evident throughout his remarkably insightful [book]. Brackett has attained a significant level of involvement from Zorn himself, and the book includes segments from their conversations as well as previously unseen sketches, notes, and documents relating to the composer's work. For die-hard followers, the book is an invitation into the inner sanctum.January 28, 2009”
 — Michael Patrick Brady, PopMatters

“Brackett's groundbreaking book . . . confronts Zorn's contradictory modes of expression . . . brilliantly demonstrating how these powerful dualities of thought—real yet fantastic, pleasing yet horrifying—synergize to make Zorn's compositional voice unique and seminal in the 21st century.November 3 2008”
 — Severine Neff, Mainly Music Meandering

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Table of Contents

<FMO>Contents<\>
Foreword by John Zorn
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. From the Fantastic to the Dangerously Real: Reading John Zorn's Artwork
2. Magick and Mysticism in Zorn's Recent Works
3. Tradition, Gifts, and Zorn's Musical Homages
4. Continuing the Spiral: Aporias and the Prisms of Tradition
Epilogue
Discography/Filmography
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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