Composer John Zorn and lyricist Jesse Harris have created sixteen new songs fashioned in the form of an Off-Broadway musical featuring Petra Haden accompanied by Brian Marsella on piano, Jorge Roeder on bass, and Ches Smith on drums.

September 16, 2023
7:30 pm
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Following up on the success of their two previous projects (The Song Project and Songs for Petra) composer John Zorn and lyricist Jesse Harris have created sixteen new songs fashioned in the form of an Off-Broadway musical. Love Songs tells the story of a young woman, her friends, their relationships both past and ongoing, and struggles with identity and trauma.

This world-premiere concert performance features the remarkable voice of Petra Haden, accompanied by Brian Marsella on piano, Jorge Roeder on bass, and Ches Smith on drums. Blending influences from Burt Bacharach, Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill, and the Tin Pan Alley/Brill Building tradition, this is a lyrical and dramatic tribute to contemporary song that will appeal to young and old alike.

Read more about John Zorn's impact in these pieces commissioned by the Walker

About John Zorn

Born and raised in New York City, John Zorn is a composer, performer, artist, universalist and aesthetic philosopher who has forged an independent path through stylistic domains that range from the classical avant-garde to many popular idioms. He has been a central figure in the Downtown Scene since 1974, incorporating a wide variety of creative musicians into various compositional formats. His work is remarkably diverse and draws inspiration from Art, Literature, Film, Theatre, Philosophy, Alchemy, and Mysticism as well as Music.

About Jesse Harris 

Originally from New York City, Jesse Harris is a Grammy Award winning songwriter, singer, guitarist and producer of artists from all over the world. He began making records in the mid 90s. Since then he has released almost 20 albums under his own name, as well as others with many various projects.

About Petra Haden

Petra Haden is a musical innovator who, in the last four decades, has earned industry recognition for her experimental harmonies, inventive melodies, and eclectic collaborations. Her voice and violin can be heard in many musical realms––jazz, rock, pop, alternative, classical, punk, metal, and soundtracks. To Petra, “Music is a powerful form of expression. I love collaborating with other musicians because it allows a conversation to happen where ideas grow and change.“

About Brian Marsella

Brian Marsella is a pianist, composer, bandleader and educator living in New Jersey. A Philadelphia native, Marsella moved to New York in 1998 and has been touring and recording consistently since. Currently Marsella has released 30 albums as a leader or co-leader.  His projects include the large ensembles iMAGiNARiUM and Gatos do Sul, the jazz quintet The Flail, the psychedelic surf-rock trio The Modulators, Archipelago X (with Ikue Mori and Sae Hashimoto) as well as two acoustic piano trios (one featuring Kenny Wollesen and Trevor Dunn and the other with Christian McBride and Anwar Marshall.) OUTSPOKEN: The Music of Hasaan Ibn Ali (McBride, Marshall) was chosen as a Best Album of 2018 by The New York City Jazz Record. Gatos do Sul was chosen as a best album of 2020 by Downbeat. Brian can also be heard on over 50 other albums including 27 on John Zorn's TZADIK label.

Over the past 7 years, Brian has become a central figure in John Zorn's world as a musician in both his Masada and Bagatelle projects as well as a member of Zorn's Cobra, New Electric Masada, powerhouse quartet Chaos Magick (John Medeski, Matt Hollenberg, and Kenny Grohowski), new piano trio with Ches Smith and Jorge Roeder and the jazz quartet Incerto (Smith, Roeder and Julian Lage). 

Brian has performed with John Zorn, Cyro Baptista, Marshall Allen, Nels Cline, Hassan Hakmoun, Jon Irabagon, Ikue Mori, Matisyahu, Meg Okura’s Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, Chris Lightcap’s SuperBigmouth and Superette, Jessica Lurie Ensemble, Zion80, Edom, Pharaoh's Daughter, Yemen Blues and Fresh Cut Orchestra in venues and festivals around the world including the Village Vanguard, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Kimmel Center, ElbPhilharmonie (Hamburg), Salle Pleyel (Paris), Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Melbourne Jazz Festival and Big Ears Festival (Knoxville, TN). 

About Jorge Roeder

Originally from Lima, Peru, bassist Jorge Roeder has become renowned as one of the most versatile and expressive bass players in jazz today. Combining a symphonic imagination with the intimate lyricism of a folk musician, the aggressive energy of a raw rocker with the buoyant rhythmic sensibilities of his Afro-Peruvian roots, Roeder conveys a wide spectrum of influences within a resolute foundation. In his hands, says the Ottawa Citizen, “the music feels like it’s dancing from the ground up.”

Roeder has enjoyed long-standing partnerships with Julian Lage, Sofia Rei and Shai Maestro, and shared stages with such innovators as Gary Burton, Nels Cline and John Zorn. He’s been recognized with a number of awards, including the 2007 International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition and semi-finalist status in the 2009 Thelonious Monk Bass Competition, as well as a Grammy nomination for the Julian Lage Group’s debut album.

About Ches Smith

California-born, New York-based drummer, percussionist, and composer Ches Smith has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of the wiliest drummers on the experimental scene.” Smith’s singular voice and adroit perspective have led to collaborations with Marc Ribot, Tim Berne, John Zorn, Craig Taborn, Darius Jones, Vijay Iyer, Nels Cline, Dave Holland, David Torn, Mary Halvorson, Terry Riley, Kris Davis, Trevor Dunn, John Tchicai, Xiu Xiu, Secret Chiefs 3, Theory of Ruin, Mr. Bungle, and many others. Smith’s ten leader albums showcase the range of his stylistic curiosity and exploratory instincts. The latest, Interpret It Well, features legendary guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Craig Taborn, and violist Mat Maneri. It follows Path of Seven Colors by We All Break, Smith’s project fusing boundary-stretching jazz and traditional Haitian Vodou music. Both expand upon a continually surprising catalogue that includes Smith’s solo project Congs for Brums and his all-star quintet These Arches.

Sep 16

John Zorn and Jesse Harris: LOVE SONGS