Who woulda thunk it? A downtown renegade and a godfather of the avant-garde together on the same bill…in Wynton’s fabled House of Swing? As John Zorn told the packed house in the magnificent Rose Theater, “Let’s hope this is the beginning of a new trend in programming here. There’s more young faces in this audience than they’ve seen since the inception of this place.”
Indeed, from his fiercely independent, uncompromising musical stance to his camouflage pants, Zorn has come to embody a kind of punk aesthetic in jazz that appeals to a youthful demographic of 20-something males. And like Moses leading the Jews to the Promised Land, Zorn, who has rarely, if ever, performed above 14th Street over the past 30 years, brought his hordes of fresh-faced admirers with him to the prestigious uptown venue for a split bill with a living jazz master. Between these two avant-garde icons, they filled the House of Swing with a joyful atonal noise, eliciting wild ovations from both initiates and converts alike.