NPR logo

'Masada Songbook': Zorn Redefines Jewish Music

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5009271/5010971" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'Masada Songbook': Zorn Redefines Jewish Music

'Masada Songbook': Zorn Redefines Jewish Music

'Masada Songbook': Zorn Redefines Jewish Music

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5009271/5010971" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The group Rashanim features John Madof on guitar, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on bass and Mathias Kunzli on drums and percussion. Rashanim hide caption

toggle caption
Rashanim

Masada Rock

Listen to cuts from the new album:

Bahir

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5009271/5009280" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Makom

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5009271/5009282" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Chorek

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5009271/5009284" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Just over a decade ago, renegade composer and saxophonist John Zorn set out to redefine Jewish music with an ambitious set of pieces he called the "Masada Songbook."

Composer and saxophonist John Zorn has pushed back the boundaries of Jewish music with everything from klezmer music to hard rock. Corbis hide caption

toggle caption
Corbis

There are now over 200 pieces in the catalog, which take their inspiration from klezmer, Middle Eastern and classical music.

In his original group, John Zorn played saxophone alongside a trumpeter, bass player and drummer. But the catalog was designed to be played by any group of instruments, and Zorn's discography has since expanded to include renditions by klezmer bands, jazz combos and vocalists.

Now, for the 10th anniversary of the songbook, John Zorn's Tzadik label has released Masada Rock featuring the Jewish power trio Rashanim and led by guitarist Jon Madof.

Zorn and Madof recently spoke with host Liane Hansen about their work and the continuing evolution of Jewish music.

Purchase Featured Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
Masada Rock
Artist
Rashanim

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?