The deep grammar of John Zorn’s music is parsed in this monograph
Tradition and Transgression
by John Brackett
$24.95 List Price
The composer John Zorn likes to think of himself as an outsider, wallowing in paradoxes, and he’s done a terrific job of it. The musicologist John Brackett has written what is apparently the first book-length study of the man’s music, titled John Zorn: Tradition and Transgression. He’s done not quite so terrific a job, but for anyone interested in an initial foray into the thickets of complexity and contradiction enveloping Zorn and his “poetics” (a Brackettian favorite), this is a start.
It’s a tribute to Zorn, who was born in 1953, that he has remained so stubbornly unknown to the general public for so long; he’s been making his music on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for more than thirty years. Part of his problem—if it is a problem for a defiant outsider, who is seemingly willing to offend anyone who
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