US - New York - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 22 - 08/08/98
John Zorn, Marc Ribot,
John Medeski and Kenny Wollesen
Tonic, New York, July 5th 1998
Sax icon John Zorn is the curator of Tonic, a hair salon in the day and an ascetic
and intimate bar scene at night, located in downtown New York City. The
sax-guitar-organ-drums lineup played two sets of tight improv avant-something. Well, it's not
Jazz. And certainly not anything else. Four musicians who each in their own way have
developed a unique and personal way to play their instrument. "No Wave" guitar master
Marc Ribot is probably best known to the average Lunar Kafé ist for being the "deux ex
machina" of Tom Waits' Rain Dogs et al.
Presented in a context of effortless ease and a twisted sense of humor (if that is
possible without uttering one word), their collective musical effort came out as a
persistent stream of style and mood changes, constantly intense.
From what might start out as straight tunes, the musicians went via cascades of Zorninan
saxual orgasms and brute force, to pure minimalism with Wollesen and Ribot pickin', pluckin'
and scratchin'. That's right, the rhythm department at times became more of an instrument
for creating soundscapes in the hands of Kenny Wollesen. And through inventive free form
syncopated drumming, with sudden press-rolls here and a quick swish of a cymbal there,
even the potentially "straight" parts in the set sounded fresh.
The two Johns, Medeski and Zorn, did their part all right, but in the long run it was
Wollesens drumming and Ribots idiosyncratic quitar angles that carried the boat. And what
a boat. The world looked unintelligible unshaken afterwards, but it was a hot night at the
Copyright © 1998 Per Fikse