John Zorn (1953) is an elusive personality on the jazz andimprovised music scene; a sometimes recalcitrant but also very truemusician (alto sax player, composer, arranger, producer) with animpressive CV. He was born in New York and learned to play severalinstruments at an early age in that city. After a while he went toSt. Louis to study music and focused on the saxophone andcomposition. This is where he seriously got enthralled by the jazzscene.
Zorn soon left school, returned to New York and started workingwith free jazz musicians and rock bands. He also started composing.The results soon were played with Naked City, his band, which usedto perform in the famous jazz club The Knitting Factory, amongother places. Zorn's compositions in those days were alreadyspectacular collages.
Zorn is also a big film music fan, especially of the work of CarlStalling, who made the soundtracks for many cartoons. Stalling'sapproach (working with sound blocks) has had a great influence onZorn's composition technique. He used to first scribble a number ofmusical ideas on cards, then arrange them until some structurestarted to appear - a kaleidoscopic approach.
Meanwhile Zorn has grown into an icon of post-modernism. He has awide variety of line-ups at his disposal: Naked City (dismantled,and yet, one never knows), Pain Killer, Spy vs. Spy, AcousticMasada… For his own record label, Tzadik, he made the seriesRadical Jewish Culture, a platform investigating his own Jewishroots. His music, which can be enjoyed on CDs and during hisconcerts, but also on soundtracks and in video games, iswide-ranging, multi-colored and surpasses all genres.
At North Sea Jazz, Zorn is involved in various projects. Hewill, for instance, conduct The Dreamers, to achieve a warm mix ofsurf and movie music; and with Filmworks he will perform aselection of his soundtracks covering a collection of 22 albums.Furthermore he performs on alto sax with the Masada Sextet, as amember of the trio with Bill Laswell & Milford Graves, and as aprompter in the spectacular happening, or game piece, Cobra. Zorn'directs' this piece and the musicians of the ensemble with the aidof signals with his hands, signs, 'the hat' and a detailed set ofrules for style, duration, volume and so on. However, the musicianscan also rule against him. A further titillating happening will beBar Kokhba: exciting, adventurous music with elements of surf musicand the Middle East. Zorn as artist in residence: it will be akaleidoscopic event true to its name.