I knew Nothing of Tom Cora when i bought this album. I bought it as part of my collecting of the catalog of John Zorn's Tzadik Label.
Released in 1999, soon after Tom's passing from cancer at the age of 44, this tribute to Tom consists of two 70 minute CDs of music from Tom and many of the bands Tom played in over his career as well as other musicians that Tom had played with and influenced, doing pieces that Tom wrote or that they recorded especially for this compilation.
I could be here a month of Sundays trying to describe the music on this release and at over 140 minutes there is a hell of a lot to take in and this sort of stuff does not get pulled off the shelf very often.
Tom played in many bands over the years as well as releasing solo stuff, like some of his solo cello improvisations, an impressive example of which graces this album, along with recordings he did with some familiar names, such as, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Leo Smith and Chris Cutler. There are also tracks from bands that Tom graced such as, Curlew, Oriental Fusion, Third Person, The Ex, Pidgen Combo, Nimal and I believe his most well known outfit, Skeleton Crew with Fred Frith and Zeena Parkins.
Oh what a roller coaster of a musical journey is this project but it is very well worth the ride. Some really mind bending and creative music resides on these two discs, from free improvisations, plenty of NYC Downtown madness, Brass Bands, electronic noise, off kilter pop and plenty of other almost indescribable weirdness, there is nothing I don't like and plenty that I really am enjoying very much. It would be worth tracking down some of the recordings Tom did with the various bands he played in that I mentioned above. A wonderful tribute to Tom and musically get a massive thumbs up from me.
I highly recommend this album for those who like challenging music, go on, dive in I dare you. Rating 5/5.