Zorn, John (1953--) By Garlitz, Dustin
John Zorn is an American avant-garde saxophonist and composer. Zorn performs on alto saxophone and is one of the leading figures in New York City’s “Downtown music” scene. Zorn has recorded on major record labels and releases music on his own independent experimental record label, Tzadik. His piano-less jazz quartet Masada, using instrumentation first made popular in 1959 by avant-garde jazz alto saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman, was considered one of the leading small bands in jazz in the 1990s and 2000s and has recorded dozens of his compositions on many volumes of album releases. Zorn has focused on East Asian influences in new music, especially traditional Japanese influences. These influences were evident in his work as early as the early 1980s. He has also spent time producing albums by contemporary Japanese noise or sound artists and has performed and recorded with them on those musical releases as well. He has devoted time in his artistic career to composing music for independent films and, more notably, has released many volumes of film-inspired musical works, mostly on his own record label.