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'Masada Songbook': Zorn Redefines Jewish Music

Just over a decade ago, renegade composer and saxophonist John Zorn set out to redefine Jewish music with an ambitious set of pieces he called the "Masada Songbook."

There are now over 200 pieces in the catalog, which take their inspiration from klezmer, Middle Eastern and classical music.

In his original group, John Zorn played saxophone alongside a trumpeter, bass player and drummer. But the catalog was designed to be played by any group of instruments, and Zorn's discography has since expanded to include renditions by klezmer bands, jazz combos and vocalists.

Now, for the 10th anniversary of the songbook, John Zorn's Tzadik label has released Masada Rock featuring the Jewish power trio Rashanim and led by guitarist Jon Madof.

Zorn and Madof recently spoke with host Liane Hansen about their work and the continuing evolution of Jewish music.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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