The Big Gundown (album)

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The Big Gundown
Zorn-TheBigGundown.jpg
Studio album by
John Zorn
Released1986 (2000 - 15th Anniversary Edition)
Recorded1984-1985
Genre Avant-garde jazz [1]
Length49:27 (74:54 - 15th Anniversary Edition)
Label Nonesuch/Icon, Tzadik
Producer Yale Evelev
John Zorn chronology
Voodoo
(1986)
The Big Gundown
(1986)
Cobra
(1987)
15th Anniversary Special Edition
The Big Gundown 15th Anniversary.jpg

The Big Gundown is an album by American composer and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist John Zorn. It comprises radically reworked covers of tracks by the Italian film composer Ennio Morricone.

Contents

The album is named after a 1966 Spaghetti Western of the same name, directed by Sergio Sollima, starring Lee Van Cleef, and scored by Morricone. The album was first released in 1985 on the Nonesuch/Icon label. In 2000 a remastered 15th Anniversary Edition with additional tracks was released on CD on Zorn's Tzadik Records label. [2]

In 1985 Zorn had been working in New York City's experimental music scene for almost a decade (the album was originally to be called "Once Upon a Time in the Lower East Side"), but The Big Gundown launched him to wider prominence. In the notes for the 2000 reissued CD, Zorn describes The Big Gundown as representing a creative breakthrough as well for being the first time he worked extensively with multi-track recording, overdubbing and ornate orchestration. Though his main instrument is alto sax, Zorn did not play on most tracks, adding only a few touches of piano, game calls, harpsichord or musical saw.

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [3]
Penguin Guide to Jazz 👑 [4]
Spin (favorable) [5]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10 [6]

The AllMusic review by Scott Yanow awarded the album 412 stars stating "There are certainly no dull moments on this often-riotous program". [7]

The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected this album as part of its suggested "Core Collection" and awarded it a "crown", calling it "utterly remarkable in every way and one of the essential records of the '80s". [1]

The Rolling Stone review by Steve Futterman was less enthusiastic, and Futterman stated, "Despite high-spirited contributions from a first rate cast, Zorn's tentative and analytical remakes tend to bleed Morricone's high drama and joyous kitschiness dry". [8]

Track listing

  1. "The Big Gundown" - 7:26
  2. "Peur sur la Ville" - 4:16
  3. "Poverty (Once Upon a Time in America)" - 3:49
  4. "Milano Odea" - 3:02
  5. "Erotico (The Burglars)" - 4:27
  6. "Battle of Algiers" - 3:50
  7. "Giu la Testa (Duck You Sucker!)" - 6:06
  8. "Metamorfosi (La Classe Operaia Va In Paradiso)" - 4:37
  9. "Tre nel 5000" - 4:37
  10. "Once Upon a Time in the West" - 8:44
11. "The Sicilian Clan" - 3:20
12. "Macchie Solari" - 3:29
13. "The Ballad of Hank McCain" - 5:27
14. "Svegliatti & Uccidi" 3:03
15. "Chi Mai" - 3:06
16. "The Ballad of Hank McCain (instrumental)" - 5:28
All compositions by Ennio Morricone except "Tre nel 5000" by John Zorn

Personnel

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References

  1. 1 2 Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2006) [1992]. "John Zorn". The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings . The Penguin Guide to Jazz (8th. ed.). New York: Penguin. pp.  1410. ISBN   0-14-102327-9.
  2. Tzadik catalogue
  3. Yanow, Scott. "Overview:The Big Gundown". AllMusic. Retrieved February 23, 2010.
  4. "Penguin Guide to Jazz: 4-Star Records in 8th Edition". Tom Hull . Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  5. "Spin-offs". Spin. 2 (12): 33. March 1987. ISSN   0886-3032.
  6. Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. 1995. p. 450.
  7. Yanow, S. [ AllMusic Review] accessed July 22, 2011
  8. Futterman, S., "Records: The Big Gundown", Rolling Stone , Issue 498, April 23, 1987, pp 152