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Spy vs Spy (album)

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Spy vs Spy
Studio album by
RecordedAugust 1988
StudioPower Station, New York City
ProducerJohn Zorn
John Zorn chronology
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Spy vs Spy
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Spy vs Spy: The Music of Ornette Coleman is the fifth studio album by American composer and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist John Zorn, featuring the compositions of Ornette Coleman performed in the brief, intense style of Zorn's hardcore miniatures.

The liner notes thank Ornette and Denardo Coleman, Mick Harris of Napalm Death, Ted Epstein of Blind Idiot God, Pil of Lip Cream (a Japanese thrashcore group), The Accused, Craig Flanagan, DRI, CBGB, and "the New York-London-Tokyo Hardcore Triangle".[1] The cover artwork was created by indie comics personality Mark Beyer (of Amy and Jordan fame). The album itself approaches free jazz from the perspective of hardcore punk, particularly taking note of the contemporary innovations of thrashcore and grindcore. Zorn would later pursue these preoccupations in the thrash jazz group Naked City.

Like some classic free jazz albums (Free Jazz, Ascension, Archie Shepp's Mama Too Tight), different saxophonists improvise simultaneously in stereo. Tim Berne appears on the left channel, while John Zorn is recorded on the right channel.[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
The Penguin Guide to Jazz[3]

The AllMusic review by Scott Yanow awarded the album 3½ stars, stating: "The performances are concise with all but four songs being under three minutes and seven under two, but the interpretations are unremittingly violent. The lack of variety in either mood or routine quickly wears one out".[2]

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[4]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Ornette Coleman.

3."Word for Bird"1:14
4."Good Old Days"2:44
5."The Disguise"1:18
8."Blues Connotation"1:05
9."C. & D."3:05
11."Peace Warriors"1:20
13."Feet Music"4:45
14."Broad Way Blues"3:42
15."Space Church"2:28
16."Zig Zag"2:54
17."Mob Job"4:24



  1. ^ a b Liner notes, Spy vs Spy, 1998.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, S. AllMusic Review accessed July 22, 2011
  3. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 1543. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  4. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.

External links[edit]