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Zaebos: The Book of Angels, Vol. 11
 
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Zaebos: The Book of Angels, Vol. 11

Martin & Wood Medeski Audio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Price: $12.99 & FREE Shipping on eligible orders. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 19, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tzadik
  • ASIN: B0019R4TK0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,501 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Editorial Reviews

2008 arrival of Vol. 11 - Zabeos: The Book of Angels by Medeski, Martin & Wood. The funkified Jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood plays Fusion music by way of the downtown New York Avant scene of the 1990s. John Medeski's fuzzy keyboards are equally indebted to the Meters, Jimmy Smith, Sun Ra, Chris Wood and Billy Martin provide fluid rhythms that can lock in like the JBs if the mood is appropriate. This ability to blend Jazz technique and structures with head-nodding grooves endeared the trio to the "jam band" community and its post-Jerry Garcia figurehead, Trey Anastasio of Phish, who joined the band live on several occasions.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works as both a MMW and Zorn project February 6, 2011
Format:Audio CD
As a Medeski, Martin and Wood fan, I've come to really appreciate "Zaebos," even if it did take time to grow on me. This is electric Medeski, Martin and Wood (MMW) with a Middle Eastern flavor. Driving through psychedelic darkness, melody and avant-garde find a precarious truce. If nothing else, it works for variety sake. 'Asaliah' is one of my all-time favorite MMW songs and 'Sefrial' is up there as a stunning highlight. 'Agmatia' and 'Chafriel' are two additional sparklers off this album. This will instantly resonate with fans of "Edom," a similarly minded John Medeski project. Aside from the inherent charm of the material and performance, this was a gateway album for me. Since this is Book 11 in the Book of Angels, I decided to explore the rest of the discography and what I heard blew my socks off. Previously, I had never really heard anything by John Zorn so I'm grateful to this project for bursting the doors open and introducing me to a new musical hero. As a satisfying MMW album or a rockin' expression of Zorn, "Zaebos" is fantastic.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "at turns prowling and meditative" September 18, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I haven't heard other albums in the Book of Angels series, so while I tend to appreciate the work of John Zorn, I approach this record with Medeski, Martin and Wood as the focus of my interest.

And Zaebos IS interesting. Recent MMW studio albums have all involved guitarists, horn sections, turntablists, rigorous production strategies and other additions to create a layered soundscape that simultaneously enfolds and expands the trio's dynamic range. Zaebos, by contrast, is stripped-down and somewhat subdued, and it plays a little like --dare I say it?-- a traditional jazz album, though not without MMW's characteristic edge and energy.

The trio is in elemental form here, and they develop and shape Zorn's compositions without ever being constricted. The result is original and refreshing, at turns prowling and meditative. The melodic structures of Zaebos are distinctly middle-eastern, and while the rhythms are strong, these songs don't seem to groove so much as slink, drift, and whirl, the music of clandestine intrigue and hypnotic reverie. Evocative of the restless excitement and haunting quietude of late nights in distant lands, this album is an excellent addition to MMW's already diverse catalog...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More BOA than MMW September 9, 2008
Format:Audio CD
I have been a cult fan of Zorn's "Book of Angels" series since the Feldman/Courvoisier disc came out in 2005. So it was with considerable excitement that I read that Volume 11 would be performed by the Medeski, Martin, and Wood. I was excited to to hear the Book of Angels material interpreted with a funky backbeat. To that end, the disc is a disappointment; MMW did a masterful job in their interpretation of Zorn's music, but the boys have unfortunately left the funk at home. In short, it sounds like a Zorn record. There are HINTS of the signature Medeski, Martin, and Wood groove throughout. "Sefrial" evokes that slow, gentle groove that peeks its head on MMW's slower numbers. And "Rifion" harks back to the group's more acoustic sound in the early 90's. But these are after all only hints.
Now, I am NOT being unfair here. Volume 1 of this series is a masterful collection of original piano jazz. Volume 7 (probably the most abrasive in the series) takes the Book of Angels melodies and translates them into Hendrix-styled acid rock grooves. And Volume 10 of the series has a vaguely Cuban feel. I wanted to hear the BOA material "all funked up" as they say.
That said, for a fan of the Book of Angels material iteself (no matter who performs it), this disc IS quite good. "Zagzagel" opens the disc with a sinister bass line and intense (yet controlled) drums. Sets a mood of dread that permeates the disc. "Malach ha Sopher," practically a tone poem, brings the disc to an ironically subdued climax before the denouement of "Tutrusa'i."
It's an excellent disc, but the promise of what MMW could have delivered to the Book of Angels series makes for quite a letdown.
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