John Zorn at Jazzaldia 3: Chaos Magick + New Masada Quartet


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John Zorn

John Zorn, the leading light of Avant-Garde Jazz, is a prolific and multifaceted artist: composer, arranger, producer, sax-player and multi-instrumentalist. He is listed as the performer, composer or producer on hundreds of albums, having cultivated countless genres: Jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical music, klezmer, improvised music, soundtracks…

And if that wasn’t enough, Zorn is also the catalyst of an avant-garde scene, mainly based in New York, encompassing hundreds of musicians who boast enormous influence and repercussion. It is impossible to conceive Jazz made in New York without the intervention of musicians who move in Zorn’s sphere.

John Zorn’s fabulous performances at the Jazzaldia have left a strong impression: in 2013, with his Masada Marathon; in 2015, with the Bladerunner Trio, and in 2019, the year he received the Donostiako Jazzaldia Award, with Bagatelles Marathon. At this 59th edition of the Jazzaldia, the music brought to us by the great North American maestro will take the shape of 6 different formations giving performances over three days, on 26 and 27 July in the Kursaal Auditorioa and, on the 28th, in the Plaza de la Trinidad.

The six projects will feature ten musicians: Julian LageGyan RileyBrian MarsellaJorge RoederChes SmithJohn MedeskiMatt HollenbergKenny GrohowskiJohn Zorn eta Kenny Wollesen.


John Medeski (organ), Brian Marsella (electric piano), Matt Hollenberg (guitar), Kenny Grohowski (drums)

Chaos Magick is a magical contemporary rendering based on the ideas of Austin Osman Spare. A work encompassing the influences of writers like William Burroughs, Robert Anton Wilson, Aleister Crowley and many others.

Motivated by these magical practices, Zorn recruits Simulacrum, a group of three magnificent musicians joined by special guest Brian Marsella on the electric piano to form the eclectic quartet, Chaos Magick.

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Here the highlights lie in their dexterity, their improvising skills, and their unique approach to mixing classical music, Jazz, funk, improvisation, metal… Marvellous insanity blowing all established norms off the stage, where “nothing is real and everything is permitted”.


John Zorn (sax), Julian Lage (guitar), Jorge Roeder (bass), Kenny Wollesen (drums)

John Zorn’s latest and exciting group, the New Masada Quartet, is the solid coming together between a fabulous foursome to bring one of the Zorn’s best ever formations: the guitar ace Julian Lage; the magician on the bass Jorge Roeder; Kenny Wollesen, who has been playing drums with Zorn for 30 years; and John Zorn himself as the director and sax player.

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Live, they generate brutal energy, bringing Masada’s music to life like never before. Under Zorn’s “stop and start” directing, the New Masada Quartet is a group assembled to perfection, who delight us with their passionate solos, their sincere lyricism and their hypnotic beats.



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