The Stone is an album by John Zorn which was released in February 2006 to support the music venue of the same name. The album is a recording of freely improvised music by a sextet of musicians including Zorn and a selection of his frequent collaborators, including Mike Patton.
The album was recorded for the experimental music space “The Stone” in Alphabet City, part of Manhattan’s East Village, New York City. The recording features John Zorn on alto saxophone, Rob Burger on organ and electric piano, Mike Patton on vocals, Bill Laswell on bass, Ben Perowsky was on drums, and Dave Douglas was on trumpet. According to Tzadik’s notes, the players ‘contribute generously from their respective musical worlds, finding common ground in this striking musical suite’. All of those involved in the album’s production were unpaid, volunteering their time and effort; the proceeds of The Stone: Issue One’s sale went to support the then nascent music venue. 1,000 numbered albums were released that John Zorn personally signed.
The album is 47 minutes and 46 seconds in duration, released on Zorn’s own label, Tzadik, manufactured by A To Z Media, and distributed by Downtown Music Gallery.
Zorn founded The Stone in April 2005 as a space for avant-garde and experimental music and serves as its artistic director. It is a sparse venue with limited staff, no dancing, and no drinks served – customers are not even permitted to use the single toilet during performances, to limit distractions from the music. It has played host to musicians as hallowed as Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Medeski and Martin and Wood.
What do you think a track titled “Introduction” is? You guessed it, it’s a quiet, slow build up – almost ambient at times. The song sets up the Duration: 04:24
Mike Patton introduces himself to the album in his typical screaming style. Duration: 02:37
“Part One” has a solid funk drum track, played over by Zorn and Douglas. Patton adds his vocals to the track, normally when the music becomes frenzied. Duration: 06:52
Similar to “Interlude 1”, except this time Zorn and Douglas take their turn. Duration: 01:50
Although the album is an improvisation, “Part Two” sounds anything like a song you’d find on another John Zorn album. Solo’s abound and then crescendo to climax the song and album together. Duration: 16:31
The final interlude of the album is credited to Laswell. Duration: 01:38
Douglas mutes his trumpet as we depart the album. Duration: 04:25
Zorn produced the album. Kazunori Sugiyama was the administrative coordinator. Scott Hull mastered the album and was mixed and recorded by Bob Musso.
The CD design was by the artist Heung-Heung Chin. The cover photography was by Robert K. Chin.
Brian P. Lonergan at All About Jazz is glowing over the album, praising the ‘sense of immediacy and transparency’ of the improvisations. Giving The Stone: Issue One four out of five stars, he celebrates the ‘alternately serene, grooving and anguished music’ on this record, a unique and direct audience with six accomplished improvisers.