Game pieces, or controlled improvisation, is a concept of experimental music with roots in composers Iannis Xenakis, Christian Wolff and John Zorn. With no pre-arranged sequence of events, game pieces unfold freely according to certain rules. A number of methods can be used to determine the direction and evolution of the music, including hand gestures and shuffled cards. Cobra, which has been recorded several times for various labels, uses a combination of cards and gestures and can be performed by an ensemble of any size and composition.
John Zorn is an accomplished saxophonist, a versatile composer, an improvisational maestro, and an ardent promoter of experimental music. His music often defies convention and explores the spaces between and among genres. In his eclectic orchestrations, including solo works, chamber ensemble pieces, and compositions for complete orchestra, Zorn dismantles, reconstructs, merges, and refines disparate musical idioms Zorn is a largely self-taught artist who, since the mid-1970s, has been at the center of the downtown music scene. He founded the record label Tzadik in 1995 and has served as curator and artistic director at numerous New York music venues, including the Knitting Factory, Tonic, and The Stone, which he founded in 2005. A highly prolific artist, Zorn has over one hundred recordings and compositions to his name and has toured throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia.