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Naked City

John ZornAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 26 Songs, 2007 $8.99  
Audio CD, 1992 $10.99  
Vinyl, 1990 --  
Audio Cassette, 1990 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 21, 1992)
  • Original Release Date: December 21, 1992
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch / Elektra
  • ASIN: B000005J08
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,768 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Batman
2. The Sicillian Clan
3. You Will Be Shot
4. Latin Quarter
5. A Shot In The Dark
6. Reanimator
7. Snagglepuss
8. I Want To Live
9. Lonely Woman
10. Igneous Ejaculation
11. Blood Duster
12. Hamerhead
13. Demon Sanctuary
14. Obeah Man
15. Ujaku
16. Fuck The Facts
17. Speedball
18. Chinatown
19. Punk China Doll
20. N.Y. Flat Top Box
See all 26 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

It's hard to find a contemporary musician more eclectic than alto saxophonist John Zorn. Whether investigating the affinity between traditional Jewish music and jazz with his band Masada, or performing soundtrack music for Japanese porno films, Zorn has consistently proven himself a fearless seeker of new frontiers. On Naked City, Zorn combines covers of such movie themes as Ennio Morricone's "The Sicilian Clan," Jerry Goldsmith's "Chinatown," John Barry's "James Bond Theme," and Johnny Mandel's "I Want to Live" with his own noir-inflected originals, and a "Peter Gunn"-like cover of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" is thrown in for good measure. The results are like a trip to the drive-in for a bad double-feature--if the drive-in is on Mars. The band, which features Zorn stalwarts Bill Frisell on guitar, Wayne Horvitz on keyboards, Fred Frith on bass, and Joey Baron on drums, is remarkably confident and wide-ranging. --Fred Goodman

Product Description

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe it or not... June 29, 2004
Format:Audio CD
this is the album that really got me seriously into jazz. I'll wait a minute to let you gasp....
Now, let me explain myself. I bought Naked City in the summer before my freshman year in High School. My father, a former professional, now part-time jazz trombonist played jazz around the house 24/7 and I enjoyed it but didn't really listen to it that much myself. I went to several summer camps focused on jazz improv and I tended to be pretty decent without really listening to the music. The music that I did listen to was hardcore punk rock. The kind where the more bands you know that no one else did, the cooler you are (ever heard of Demon System 13, INDK...yeah thats right). I was a lot more open-minded than others who listen to that music but I still didn't care too much about other music.
Then I listened to Naked City and I was blown away. Someone had bridged the gap between jazz in all of its forms and hardcore. This was some scary s---! All of a sudden I started buying jazz cds like crazy and I have never looked back since. Thanks John for making me an open-minded listener and allowing me to be an individual!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
John Zorn hails from New York and has been one of the most interesting and exciting figures in contemporary music for years. He appears to be of limitless talent, acquiring quite a reputation for his wild eclecticism. That eclecticism is wildly abundant on this fine, fine album, as Zorn and Company rage thru the music of Ornette Coleman, Henry Mancini, Ennio Morricone, John Barry, and of course Mr. Zorn himself. They blaze through jazz, swing, blues, free jazz, noise, rock, thrash, and surf- often in the same song. This is great music for today's attention-span addled human. In fact, I think this would actually be a great album for youngsters with an interest in jazz to listen to. It is fast moving, often changing, and definitely never boring. I haven't listened to this CD for awhile (until today), and I forgot how enthralling it is.

`Naked City' was my first John Zorn album and it remains my favorite (along with his Occult masterpiece I.A.O.). This wonderful disc starts out with `Batman'; Zorn's uptempo envisioning of what Batman's theme should sound like- and it totally kicks ass. This is followed by Morricone's `The Sicilian Clan'. Zorn's saxophone sounds great on this track (and I usually HATE the saxophone). Next up is `You Will Be Shot', a nifty Zorn original that changes just about every ten seconds; touching on rock, noise/thrash, and blues/swing. I could go on and on; fruitlessly attempting to describe track after track. That however is beginning to seem increasingly pointless as I listen to this spectacular album. It sounds so cliché, but one must truly listen to this album for themselves to have any kind of understanding for how much ass it kicks.

One of the things that Mr.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take a chance and buy this. December 26, 1999
Format:Audio CD
I took a chance on buying this CD, as I only heard about it from a friend, and had heard no music from it. It ended up being truly one of the most worthwhile CD purchases I've made. My idea of music was so much more limited before this CD. I liked only a few of the tracks, and really didn't appreciate the grindcore tracks except for their over the top quality. But after a lot of listening it redefined music for me. It is truly refreshing and unlike anything I've heard. GREAT STEPPING STONE IF YOU WANT TO GET INTO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! I highly recommend.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like falling into a vat of ice water unexpectedly August 24, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This is a shock to the system the first time you hear it, then at some point the humor in the music becomes more evident. Zorn has an interesting mind, and unlike the jazz dullards who exhibit technique for its own sake, has something to say and a unique, powerful way of saying it. I think that this album is hilarious and bracing, the way that having an avalanche fall on you is bracing. Not for your elderly maiden aunt as background music--this one demands your full attention, and jazz needs more music like that these days.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
There really isn't much you can say but totally unpredictable and absolutely ingenius from start to finish. One of those rare records that keeps you on the edge of your seat and you find yourself saying about every other minute "How the hell did he think of that?". The ideas are bountiful and over the top brilliant. Every record collection should have at least one copy of Can Tago Mago, Captain Beefheart Trout Mask Replica and Naked City by John Zorn. Amazing stuff.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Zorn's many masterpieces-- an amazing record. March 25, 2005
Format:Audio CD
As I write this, its been 16 years since these recordings were originally released, and remarkably, they still sound 10 years ahead of their time. One of many high peaks in John Zorn's career, "Naked City" (both this album and the project) stand, to my ears, pretty much on their own.

Zorn assembled a monster band, featuring himself on alto sax, Bill Frisell on guitar, Fred Frith on bass, Wayne Horvitz on keys, and Joey Baron on drums. This group is joined on several tracks by vocalist Yamataka Eye as they explore, well everything, musically. The accomplishments on this record are stunning. Tackling material by Morriconi, Henry Mancini, Ornette Coleman, Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry ("The James Bond Theme") and a series of Zorn originals, the band moves genres effortlessly.

The opener on the album pretty much sets the stage for the rest of the record-- "Batman" begins with a crazed guitar figure, then moves underneath a wailing sax to a driving rhythm and backbeat, maintains this sort of pseudo-swing feel but structures itself such that it occasionally collapses into hard core noise. The band proves themselves capable of extraordinary beauty ("The Sicilian Clan") and noise (the entire middle of the album-- all hardcore songs under a minute featuring Eye), sometimes all in the same song ("Snagglepuss"). I once heard someone say, "if you don't like Naked City, wait ten seconds, it'll sound completely different", and its really quite accurate. Whats stunning is that zorn manages such that swing fits next to hardcore fits next to country & western, then slinks into "The James Bond Theme".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 15 days ago by Ted D. Keylon
4.0 out of 5 stars A musical mindtrip
Long since the source of inspiration behind such promising grind/metal outfits as Psyopus, Leng Tch'e, and Fantomas, John Zorn's Naked City is one extremely experimental musical... Read more
Published 13 months ago by A. Stutheit
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Naked City, the term, is a 1950s one: it was a cop show. When you see the two words, you think of smokestacks, fedoras, chain smoking detectives, shadows on walls. Read more
Published on April 26, 2010 by Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ
4.0 out of 5 stars When punk funked jazz
Rightfully praised as one of spazz-core's top albums, this heavyweight multi-genre freakout can often become pigeonholed and stereotyped as sheer anti-musical id-droppings over... Read more
Published on July 3, 2009 by IRate
5.0 out of 5 stars Zorn: 101
Note: This album is from The Complete Studio Recordings.

Although Naked City has more to their discography, and worth checking out (get it with the other albums in the... Read more
Published on May 9, 2008 by Private Quentin Tarantino Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars John Zorn's "Naked City"
Naked City are primarily an avant-jazz thrash-metal band, however, their radical music fuses stylistic boundaries. Read more
Published on April 25, 2008 by Justin St. Vincent
5.0 out of 5 stars If there is such a thing as a "Starting Point" for John Zorns...
For an Artist such as "John Zorn", who has run such a impressive range of genres that his music touches upon: (Free Jazz, Film Music, Improvisation, Rock, Metal, compositional,... Read more
Published on July 4, 2006 by fetish_2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Words... cannot... express....
Although I didn't know it at the time, if Naked City hadn't have happened there's a good chance the likes of Mr Bungle, Secret Chiefs et al would never have existed. Read more
Published on February 12, 2006 by Chris 'raging bill' Burton
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious Album
This is the second John Zorn album I've purchased (John Zorn's Cobra was first), but this is definately the better of the two. This album is very fun to listen to.
Published on September 11, 2005 by B. Burroughs
5.0 out of 5 stars Should have won a few grammys...
I am forever in debt to my good friend Mike Stack for not only getting me into John Zorn's music but for giving me his old copy of NAKED CITY several months ago. Read more
Published on August 17, 2005 by Christopher Calabrese
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