MASADA — 50⁴ (Electric Masada) (review)

MASADA — 50⁴ (Electric Masada) album cover Live album · 2004 · Eclectic Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Masada's ten studio albums are possibly the most successful John Zorn project, combining klezmer's melancholic soulful melodies, hot dance-able rhythms and downtown acoustic free-jazz craziness. Every album is a real jam and the only possible criticism could be that they are all quite similar to each other.

But some years later, when it looked like the original Masada formula had been overused (and was successfully replaced by the Book Of Angels series) John Zorn returned to Masada's material, but with an electric dream team this time. Recorded live in Tonic during the series of Zorn's 50-th celebrations concerts, this album shows new sides of classic material and moves Zorn's music to the very top again!

Different from the acoustic Masada's music, the Electric Masada album is very loud and heavy. Possibly the only similar work from Zorn's related projects is Naked City, but there is one big difference; even though they have a similar level of tension, Naked City was strongly influenced by a dark, even depressive punk flavor. In difference to all that, Electric Masada continues to be a very melodic and even soulful work.

All of the musicians are excellent, starting with Zorn's explosive sax free jazz solos to scratchy, sometimes bluesy Marc Ribot's guitar, to Joey Baron-Kenny Wollesen double drums complex and groundbreaking drumming. Jamie Saft's keyboards and Ikue Mori electronics fill it all in and are everywhere.

This album radiates that special energy of an inspired live show and the listener can't resist getting caught up in the vortex of melodies, rhythms, sound explosions and electronic effects. An excellent example of how strong musical material can be transferred to a more modern musical ambience.

One of the best NY downtown eclectic fusion albums ever!
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