Jim Zorn, You Belong Here!

We’re taking Sally Jenkin’s advice and getting excited about Jim Zorn coming to Washington. Yes, we were disappointed to see Joe Gibbs re-retire. And sure it would have been nice to have had a head coach like Gregg Williams take the throne as the heir apparent and player-favorite, or alternately one with a proven record of winning like Jim Fassel, or even a rising assistant with the glow of a Super Bowl victory fresh on his resume like Steve Spagnuolo. But no. We got Zorn.

And frankly we’re fine with that.

You see, here at the 16th Street J we’ve done pretty well by Zorns over the years. Our immediate past president is Francine Zorn Trachtenberg, and while she never threw for over 21,000 yards in the NFL, she did oversee the J’s wildly successful tenth anniversary celebrations last year.

We’ve also benefited from a longstanding association with radical Jewish music pioneer John Zorn, who conducted his Masada String Trio on the opening night of the Washington Jewish Music Festival in 2005. And before there was JDub — the innovative music label that launched Matisyahu — there was John Zorn’s label Tzadik leading the modern klezmer revival. If hip hop is the driving cultural force behind JDub, then Tzadik was driven by Punk. Not necessarily as a universal descriptor for the style of music it represented — although a good chunk of it embraced punk’s DIY spirit and cacophonous rebellion — but for its sheer audacity and the speed with which it amassed its catalog. Never a vanity label, Tzadik put forth (and continues to do so) work from the likes of David Krakauer, Frank London and Andy Statman. The 16th Street J’s Washington Jewish Music Festival has played host to all these artists as well as Tzadik bands Rashanim, Pharoah’s Daughter, Steve Lacy and Uri Caine. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on Tzadik’s extensive catalog of New Japan music, a subculture unto itself.

So Jim, as the latest Zorn on the scene, you can see that there is plenty to live up to. That’s bound to contribute to a fair amount of stress. You’re going to need a place to get away from it all, and perhaps spend some time on a treadmill, in a non-threatening fitness environment, maybe even take in a play or a film. We’re sure Mr. Snyder would be happy to front the money for your membership…and if you join in February you’ll only pay $18 the first month!

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