Live at the Knitting Factory
1990 A&M Records
"This last one we’re gonna do should be familiar to all the cats out there that know the stuff. This is called The Wedding Dance. You know what I’m sayin’?" And with that, Don Byron opens the most danceable track on the album, an old Jewish klezmer tune by Mickey Katz. It is a prelude to the clarinetist’s subsequent Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz album.
For years now, an old knitting factory in New York has been a concert club featuring the best jazz from around the world. This is an early sample of some of the fresh sounds coming from The Knitting Factory. Most of the tracks are instrumental jazz pieces, ranging from funky and groovy, to avant garde and free form.
One of John Zorn’s many side projects, Slan is featured on two tracks here. Their Z.O.G. is what caught my eye. Do they mean Zionist Occupied Government? What could a song named for Nazi propaganda sound like? Z.O.G. starts with a flurry of drums, and then breaks into Zorn’s crazy squealing saxophone. Quite unlike his Masada String Quartet albums, this style is that of his Naked City jazz ensemble. Slan’s other track is similar in nature.
These are the only Jewish oriented tracks off Knitting Factory Vol. 3. But the review would not be complete without a mention of You Must Choose by Negativland. The experimental group is known for stringing sound bites, samples and a variety of musical and non musical sounds and noises together.
The story of a frustrated man who’s TV goes on the brink right in the middle of watching The Playboy Channel is so weird that it makes me laugh every time I hear it. On a side note, Negativland also has a version of Tevye’s Dream from the Knitting on the Roof album. This is a unique album to have for fans of jazz and for something a little strange. You have been warned.
Copyright 2003 Jewish Community Radio