The Art of Memory – John Zorn & Fred Frith

"Duo between Zorn and one of most representative guitarist of improvisational music - Fred Frith. Both are in excellent form and the album is great evidence how fruitful and interesting improvisational jazz can sound when played by two masters. Only Frith's guitar and Zorn's alto sax sounds (plus some minimalistic tapes loops) build aural picture of thousand nuances. Not as extremely freaky as Zorn's early experimental works, this music contains one of the best interplays in both musicians history. And - this release is great example how good improvisational sax player John Zorn is ( during last decade or even more he doesn't demonstrate his virtuosity too often).

Far not an easy listening, but one of great "classical" Zorn's avant-garde jazz works, must have album for every serious Zorn's music fan or researcher." - Jazz Music Archives


John Zorn / alto sax

Fred Frith / guitar


Recorded by Fred Frith + John Zorn for Incus Records. Cover designed by Arai Yasunori.

Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC 


1 The Combiner 4:41
2 The Ladder 5:24
3 The Chain 4:54
4 The Field 7:58
5 The Table 8:44
6 The Interpreter 5:06
7 The Tree 4:20
8 The FOUNTAIN And The MIRROR 4:30


John Zorn

He owns the Tzadik record label and has worked with a large number of experimental musicians, particularly in improvised music, modern classical music and jazz, though he has produced music in most styles. As a child, he played piano, guitar and flute. He went to college in St. Louis where he discovered free jazz, before dropping out and moving to Manhattan. There he gave concerts in his small apartment, playing a variety of reeds, duck calls, tapes, etc; almost anything. In the mid 1980s he signed to the Elektra Nonesuch label. Since then, he has released a very large number of records, usually putting out several each year. 

Fred Frith

Frith's work has ranged from ground-breaking avant-garde rock with Henry Cow and Art Bears to extended compositions for choirs, orchestras and saxophone quartets and collaborations with figures such as Mike Patton, John Zorn, Brian Eno, Ikue Mori and Derek Bailey. His highly individual approach to the guitar and use of extended and unorthodox techniques give his music a unique and at times disorienting sense of texture and space. 

Frith's musicial journey started when he formed Henry Cow with Tim Hodgkinson in 1968, a legendary group that expanded the parameters of rock music to include complex compositional forms as well as improvised elements. 

After moving to New York in 1979, Frith was a key figure in the downtown experimental music scene, his collaborations with Zorn, Laswell, Mori and others helping form an important new musical vernacular in which elements of rock, contempary composition, noise and improvisation overlapped and intertwined. 

Since 1999 Frith has been Professor of Composition at Mills University, California. Recent projects have included duos with Anthony Braxton and Evelyn Glennie, collaborations with the Arte Quartett and choreographer Donna Uchizono, and numerous festival appearances in Europe and America. 

“A masterful sound colorist, Frith is in no way subject to analyses of has artistic legitimacy - (he) redefines the possible uses of the guitar and makes traditional discourse irrelevant” – L.A. Herald Examiner (USA)