18–19 November 2020
John Zorn’s epic Masada project, a songbook containing 613 compositions and spanning over 70 albums on his own Tzadik label, has been in operation, redefining and exploring the concept of a Radical Jewish Culture for almost three decades.
Born out of the concept that “if jazz can go from Jelly Roll Morton to Cecil Taylor in thirty years, why can’t Jewish music?”, this epochal book of music transcends traditional concepts of musical production, fusing the melodic and rhythmic elements central to the Jewish tradition with the freedom and interactivity characteristic of jazz.
From 2004, after 10 studio albums with a core quartet of Zorn, Dave Douglas, Greg Cohen and Joey Baron, Zorn began writing Masada for other select musicians to record.
Composer and bandleader Sam Eastmond has the singular honour of being the only British artist selected by Zorn. His is the only iteration of Masada for big band, recording for Book Two: The Book of Angels, alongside luminaries of the NYC downtown scene including David Krakauer, Ben Goldberg, Joe Lovarno, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Marc Ribot, Uri Caine, Cyril Baptista, Mark Feldman and new stars Mary Halvorson, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, Tyshawn Sorey, Sylvie Courvoisier, Jon Madof et al.
Eastmond returned to Masada in 2017 as part of Zorn’s 10 disc Book Three boxset becoming one of only a few artists invited by Zorn to revisit Masada.
This residency presents Eastmond’s large ensemble Masada arrangements, performed here by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in celebration of John Zorn’s monumental Masada legacy.