Well, the main problem with Zorn is that the man has done so incredibily much, in a great variety of genres. So the main thing is: what kind of music has your interest? If it's extreme stuff like Astronome your after, you should check out Naked city and Painkiller. The first is a mix of punk, death metal, freejazz and all kinds of popular music. Extremely postmodern: chaotic and humoristic. Painkiller is like a more intense, humorless verion of it.
But Zorn has also done a lot of music with a lot more focus on melody. First, there is Filmworks, a series of cinematic tune by Zorn. He has written some classical pieces as well, wich fall mainly in the 20'th century modern composing tradition. Think Varese, Boulez, Sch÷nberg.
The Zorn project I enjoy the most is Masada, Zorn's exploration of his Jewish roots. Initially it started as a quartet playing bebop/freejazz based upon Klezmer melodies (now known as accoustic Masada). Later Zorn has expanded the Masada family with a string trio (playing the tunes in a chamber music tradition), a rock band (electric Masda, check out there album At the mountains of Madness! great stuff, like a jewish version of Bitches Brew on speed) and lately he has written a second Masada songbook, called Book of Angels, wich are played by a different ensemble on each album.
And this is just a small take out of the man's oeuvre. So you will just have to explore for yourself. You'll love some stuff, hate other stuff. This website is a handy guide in the realm of Zorn. Enjoy!
by the way, what is Womba?
wow what a wonderfully detailed reply, thank you! I'd quite like to hear a range of stuff really, just to get a feel for everything he's done. I'm aware that he's done a lot, which is one of the reasons I asked for recommendations. Not too struck with the idea of the classical pieces (I don't have much knowledge of modern classical composition, but I've played in a couple of orchestras etc which have done them and they never really appealed to me. Who knows though, maybe listening is different to playing and it might be interesting to be on the other side of it, so to speak)
I'm really behind on my musical theory, I've played a couple of instruments for about 10 years (plus another 2 years where I've barely touched them sadly, thanks to being at uni and not having as much access, especially my piano) but towards the end I had a lot of school commitments amongst other things so I mainly just focused on learning to play rather than all the theory behind it as well, different genres and techniques and so on. sigh. that's my fancy way of saying 'it'll probably all go over my head', in case you hadn't worked that out already but hey, i'll look into it. thanks again.
womba is...the wombatorium.
mr tooth: thank you, i will search for that as well.