John Zorn - The Classic Guide to Strategy (1996)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 423 Mb (incl 5%) | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 209 Mb (incl 5%) | Scans included
Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Improvisation, Modern Composition | Label: Tzadic | # TZ7305 | Time: 01:17:58
The Classic Guide to Strategy is a compilation album by John Zorn featuring his two early solo records The Classic Guide to Strategy Volume One (1983), (tracks 1-2) and the Classic Guide to Strategy Volume Two (1985), (tracks 3-8). The albums were first released on vinyl on Lumina Records in and later re-released on Tzadik Records in 1996 as a single CD.
John Zorn's initial reputation was established as a particularly idiosyncratic & in-your-face free-jazz saxophonist who incorporated an array of duck-calls into his work; he's since become better known for the studio-based genre-mixing of albums like _Spillane_ or the more straightforward jazz-based improvisation of the Masada discs, but his earlier style deserves attention too, & this is an excellent start. Originally two LPs recorded in the mid-1980s (one track has been removed to fit them both on a single CD), _The Classic Guide to Strategy_ is a solo disc of astounding bizarreness. Despite its performances' being cut in real time, they are as obsessed with the discontinuous jump-cut as Zorn's studio work: his procedure (as the photos in the liner notes shows) was to carefully set up a table covered with an array of duck-calls, clarinets and saxophones in such a way as to permit the instantaneous switch from one instrument to the next. The two LPs are somewhat different in approach--the first contains just two long tracks, which often contain sudden silences between bursts of sound; the second contains shorter, intenser tracks that don't let up for a moment.
The collage of cries, burbles, honks, sighs and fragments of music is unique, even among Zorn's various output. It's a fine disc, through the sheer singularity and intensity of purpose that Zorn evinces on it. Fans of it might also want to check out the slightly earlier _Yankees_ (intermittently available on CD, it seems), which has Zorn pitting his duck calls against George Lewis and Derek Bailey.
Review by N. Dorward, Amazon.com
The Classic Guide to Strategy, Volumes One & Two presents two Zorn albums from the mid-'80s which have long been out of print. Featuring a variety of manipulated saxophones, clarinets, and duck calls, the album plays at the edges of sounds traditionally associated with reed instruments. The album is not entirely accessible, especially Volume One -- if it were produced by a college student sowing his experimental oats after a giddy term at BAM, it would probably be labeled a failure for its eccentricity, abruptness, and lack of a coherent theme. However, when a line is drawn through Zorn's previous work, it ends up here -- the playfulness of sound, the variety of textures, the use of silence and space as part of the composition -- if the listener approaches this album expecting to find musical genius, he or she will not have to look too far. Zorn manufactures the sounds of animals, voices, squeaks, scraps of melodic lines, drowning (or at least dampened) beasts, and cartoon worlds with his reeds, paying homage to the work of Carl Stalling, as well as the sounds of Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker. The first two tracks on this collection represent the original volume one; the last five belonged to the original volume two. Stylistically, they are similar, with the second volume containing less spacial breaks between the musical bursts and each song paying tribute to avant-garde Japanese artists like Mori Ikue, Enoken, Kondo Toshinori, Katsumi Shigeru, Aoyama Michi, and Togawa Jun.
01. Part 1 (19:36)
02. Part 2 (Cartoon Music) (19:32)
03. Aoyama Michi (11:15)
04. Enoken (03:21)
05. Katsumi Shigeru (06:34)
06. Kondo Toshinori (06:04)
07. Togawa Jun (08:54)
08. Mori Ikue (02:38)