John Zorn's Naked City | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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John Zorn's Naked City

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"In some sense," says the composer, saxophonist, and musical facilitator John Zorn, "it is true that my music is ideal for people who are impatient, because it is jam-packed with information that is changing very fast." And that about sums it up. Zorn's hyperenergetic musical intellect devours music from around the globe and across time--from the cartoon sound tracks of Carl Stalling to obscure bebop compositions to Japanese ceremonial music--and his pieces typically include a bewildering range of these influences. (This music is not--repeat, not--for those prone to information anxiety.) And rather than shrink from the laser-optic pace at which information flies through our society, Zorn embraces it: his compositions segue rapidly from one chunk of an idea to another often unrelated one careening like a barely controlled roller coaster. In this way, the very structure of the music reflects the speed and rhythm of the late 20th century (which, depending on how you feel about the late 20th century, may or may not be a good thing). Zorn performs, as you'd guess, in a wide array of contexts; in Chicago, he arrives with Naked City, featuring a batch of luminaries from the lower Manhattan art-music scene: guitarist Bill Frisell, keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, Fred Frith on bass, and the continually illuminating drummer Joey Baron. Monday, 8 PM, Civic Theatre, 20 N. Wacker; 242-6234.

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