Posts Tagged 'Bar Kokhba'

Bar Kokhba Sextet

First off, I would like to apologize for my lack of posts as of late. Mea Culpa. The end of Winter quarter was a bear to be sure. But alas, Spring has sprung! And with it, I have a whole bunch more music to share with you kids. So without further adieu, I bring you one of the most unique and intriguing groups I’ve run across within the jazz genre: the Bar Kokhba Sextet. (If you weren’t previously aware, I am a huge jazz junkie).

Bar Kokhba is collective of six core members from the Masada family, an innovative and dynamic music group under the guidance of radical, Avant-Garde saxophonist and composer John Zorn. Zorn, who has been one of the leading forces of experimental jazz in the past decade, specifically assembled Bar Kokhba to explore the soundscape of his Jewish heritage. To accomplish this, Zorn brought together some of New York’s finest musicians to fuse jazz with a Middle Eastern flair. And it’s awesome to say the least, a mystic and intoxicating swirl of percussion, bass, cello, guitar, and violin. Always compelling and never coming across as forced, the jazz influence challenges a stereotyped Middle East sound to reach new depths. Zorn’s label, Tzadik, even describes it as “sephardic exotica for young moderns.” Now tell me that doesn’t intrigue you.

I first discovered Bar Kokhba while listening to Pandora, and I immediately knew I had to have the album, titled “Lucifer: Book of Angels, Vol 10.” (Yes, it’s volume 10 out of 14) The only problem was, I couldn’t find it anywhere! Finally, one time at Amoeba I glimpsed the gold album cover peeking out from one of the crates underneath the main shelves. I felt like I’d found buried treasure. Anyway, the album is fantastic and arguably Kokhba’s best work. The last song, “Abdiel” actually features one of my top 3 favorite musical moments of all time. Listen to the key change right at 1:13 and you’ll see what I mean.



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