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

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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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