Masada: Alef, also known as Masada 1, is a 1994 album by American jazzcomposer and saxophonistJohn Zorn featuring the Masada Quartet performing compositions inspired by Zorn's examination of Jewish culture. It was the first album in a project that has included ten studio albums, concerts, and live recordings.
The Allmusic review by Don Snowden awarded the album 4 stars stating "Alef is full of thrilling, varied music and just may remind some people who are put off by John Zorn's constant stream of conceptual projects how good a musician he is in a straight-ahead jazz context". Guy Peters stated "The quartet churns out an immense variety of tunes, ranging from intensely sad ballads, to enjoyable mid-tempo faux-swing, to hectic freak-outs. One thing’s sure: if these guys step on the gas pedal, you’re in for a busy affair. As is to be expected, this is a very solo-oriented style of jazz, but whereas lots of jazz outfits regard these moments as the opportunity for the soloist to shine and for the rest of band to take it slowly, the tension in this outfit often remains very high, with two or more musicians giving their all simultaneously".