Album review: Pat Metheny, Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol 20 (Nonesuch)

 

Since the 1980s, John Zorn has composed 500 songs inspired by traditional Jewish music, a series known as the Masada Book, variously recorded by adventurous musicians such as Marc Ribot and now Pat Metheny.

"Mastema" is a dynamic opener, with a darting sitar line over cycling guitar arpeggios, jazz-funk drums and tortured lead guitar break – in its tense clamour of sound, its punchy rhythm and its balancing of eastern and Western influences, it's highly reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, as too is “Tharsis”, with its serpentine Middle Eastern guitar lines and whining synth. Elsewhere, “Phanuel” and “Albim” are more quietly reflective, expansive guitar pieces. It's all dazzlingly virtuosic and evocative?

Download: Mastema; Phanuel; Sariel; Albim

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