In 2018, an important story reaches its final chapter. For a quarter of a century, John Zorn’s Masada has been a consistently exciting and influential presence in the landscape of adventurous music, involving renowned artists such as Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Metheny, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Pat Metheny and many more. With this third and final songbook, The Book Beriah, the legendary composer concludes his exhaustive exploration of new Jewish music with ninety-two compositions over eleven albums, presented by some of the world’s most accomplished musicians.
In a unique project for voice and saz bass, longtime collaborators Sofia Rei and JC Maillard offer a superbly intimate and introspective study of the acclaimed source material. With lyrics by Rei and arrangements by both musicians, the songs explore a variety of topics, from love and solitude, to the ghost of Frida Kahlo and a childhood under the dictatorship in Argentina.
Grammy-nominated and four time International Music Award-winning vocalist and composer, Sofia Rei has a longstanding history with Zorn’s Masada oeuvre. As part of the celebrated a cappella quartet, Mycale, she was featured on two albums in The Book of Angels. In Keter, the charismatic, classically trained songstress draws from her Argentinian roots as well as her experience with jazz to explore the music’s mystical undertones. With her profoundly contemplative poetry and a voice of cathartic scope, Rei manages to reveal previously undiscovered facets of these enchanting, esoteric tunes. An equally forceful presence, eclectic composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist JC Maillard plays the saz bass. Exceptionally suited for conveying the ethereal aura of these compositions, Maillard’s enigmatic instrument at once encourages and provokes Rei’s voice. A captivating duet of unprecedented synergy, Keter is a standout addition to the Masada catalog.
Jean-Christophe (JC) Maillard is a French composer, guitarist, pianist, electronic musician and arranger native of Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. For the past 20 years, he has been touring, producing, arranging, acting as musical director and recording with all the great names in world music and world jazz. He has collaborated with Grammy wining artists such as Lisa Fischer, Angelique Kidjo, Richard Bona, Toure Kunda, etc. His project “Grand Baton”, an innovative mix of rock and electronic music with Caribbean percussions has released two albums which received praiseful reviews from all over the world, establishing him as a daring creative mind in cross genre music. JC is also known for mastering and being the first player of the SazBass, a new 8-steel string instrument of Turkish origin. More info at www.jcmaillard.com
Sofía Rei – Vocals, loops & charango.
JC Maillard – Saz bass, vocals.
“The fabulous voice of Sofia Rei has graced several Zorn vocal projects, from the acappella quartet Mycale to the dynamic Song Project, and here she interprets eight compositions from The Book of Beri’ah – the third and last book completing the Masada legacy. Richly layered yet austere; emotional but also meticulously structured; sung in Spanish but framed by global references, the music in Keter (Crown) speaks as much to the imagination and daring of vocalist, songwriter, and producer Sofía Rei and saz bass player, guitarist and producer J.C. Maillard as to the possibilities hidden in the source material by John Zorn. The eight compositions featured in Keter were drawn from The Book Beri’ah —the third and final installment of Zorn’s Masada project, created in 1993 with the goal of expanding established notions about Jewish music.” – Tzadik Records