John Zorn, classical music composer
(born September 2, 1953 in New York City) is an American avant-garde composer, arranger, record producer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist.
Zorn's recorded output is prolific with hundreds of album credits as a performer, composer, or producer. His work of avant-garde and experimental music expertly draws from a wide range of musical genres and traditions, often within a single composition, including jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical, contemporary classical music, klezmer, film, cartoon, popular, and improvised music. Zorn has led the punk jazz band Naked City, the klezmer-influenced quartet Masada and composed the associated 'Masada Songbooks', written concert music for classical ensembles, and produced music for film and documentary. Zorn has stated that "I've got an incredibly short attention span. My music is jam-packed with information that is changing very fast... All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I'm an additive person - the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can't see the connections, but they are there."
After releasing albums on several independent US and European labels, Zorn signed with Elektra Nonesuch and attracted wide acclaim in 1985 when he released The Big Gundown with his interpretations of music composed by Ennio Morricone. This was followed by the album Spillane in 1987, and the first album by Naked City in 1989 which all attracted further worldwide attention. Zorn then recorded on the Japanese DIW label and curated the Avant subsidiary label before forming Tzadik in 1995, where he has been prolific, issuing several new recordings each year and releasing works by many other musicians.
Zorn established himself within the New York City downtown music movement in the early 1980s but has since composed and performed with a wide range of musicians working in diverse musical areas. By the early 1990s Zorn was working extensively in Japan, attracted by that culture's openness about borrowing and remixing ingredients from elsewhere, where he performed and recorded under the name Dekoboko Hajime, before returning to New York as a permanent base in the mid-1990s. Zorn has undertaken many tours of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, often performing at festivals with varying ensembles to display his diverse output.
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