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Pat Metheny: Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels, Vol. 20

John Zorn’s Book of Angels, 300 songs that constitute his second set of Masada pieces inspired by traditional Jewish music, has been interpreted by a diverse roster of artists including Marc Ribot, Uri Caine, Jamie Saft and Medeski Martin & Wood. Now, in perhaps the most unexpected move of the Masada run, Pat Metheny puts his spin on six Book of Angels tunes.

Metheny, of course, is known primarily for his pleasing-to-the-ear sounds, whether he’s playing solo, dueting with the likes of pianist Brad Mehldau, or leading his Trio, Unity Band or Group. But let’s not forget that Metheny has a wild streak that he struts now and then. He ventured into free-jazz terrain with Ornette Coleman on 1986’s Song X and thrashed tunelessly on 1994’s Zero Tolerance for Silence. While Tap is more accessible than either of those efforts, it still comes as a shock that Mr. Bright Size Life would join forces with the avant-garde saxophonist and composer whose best-known album features on its cover a photo of a guy who’s been shot to death.

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