The ‘annoyance factor’ would weigh in much lighter if not for the record’s title and overblown liner notes. Wright writes:
"This recording is about exploring the paradigm of modern composition.... The challenge was to play new music in a way that couldn’t be played ten or twenty years ago but also couldn’t be considered anything but jazz."
However genuine the band’s intentions, the music on Zen Tornado (Zen: not; Tornado: kinda) comes nowhere near the sentiment of these notes. In terms of composition, most of the seven tunes have short, simple themes usually lasting a whole 30 seconds or so, and go directly into adhoc ‘free’ sections for solos. There’s essentially no compositional development. Comparing the writing on this record to the ‘paradigm of modern [jazz] composition’ (D. Douglas. Zorn, Metheny, Schneider, etc.... ), is like comparing the writing of Brittany Spears tunes to Radiohead’s music.
The paradigm or ‘vibe’ that Wright’s music is closer to is that of the 70s fusion movement or jazz/rock from the same time: Mahavishnu Orchestra, Grateful Dead, King Crimson, etc.... The music falls short considering this paradigm as well. "The challenge was to play new music in a way that couldn’t be played ten or twenty years ago but also couldn’t be considered anything but jazz." - Well, it was played (better) ten or twenty (30-40) years ago, and it was considered something other than jazz. If the group’s mastery of their instruments was at the level of composition they grope for, it would make up for a lot. Such is not the case. Having a violinist in the group is not a free pass to cachet.
When an artist shoots high and just misses the mark, a true fan forgives the misfire and appreciates the attempt for the other treasures found short of the prize. But when an artist shoots for the moon and lands atop a tree across the street from the studio, there can only a few (if any) treasures to mine along the way.