Album of the Week: John Zorn's Naked City


Naked City cover art

In 1990, experimental avant-garde jazz saxaphonist John Zorn released the album Naked City, a fun, schizophrenic and noisy collaboration with Fred Frith, Joey Baron, Yamatsuka Eye, Bill Frisell, and Wayne Horvitz.  Naked City (as the group became known) was about the most far out you could get, and Zorn’s exploration of what he “could come up with given the limitations of the simple sax, guitar, keyboard, bass, drums format” became the pinnacle of avant coolness. The result was a post-modern hybrid that cut up sequences as he saw fit and treated all genres equally: jazz, grindcore, country & western, and much more were allowed to coexist, even in the same song.  The album has 26 cuts, several that clock in at under 30 seconds. Naked City is melodic and dischordant, familiar and unpredictable, sweet and explosive.  

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