Carl, we're all
music geeks here!
Glad you decided to join the party.
I'm not crazy about Zorn's tone, either - and I do like some of his ideas, though not (so much) his execution of them. To be really honest, I think he's gotten too much hype in the press (jazz and otherwise). There are lots of talented musicians out there - IMO - who are doing things that are much more interesting, but they don't get half the coverage that he does.
I kinda think he knows how to "work" press and PR.
Here are a couple of folks that I really like:
(Yeah, I know she's recorded for Zorn's Tzadik label... which is how I found out about her. But she does lots of other projects, too.)
Edited to add: I used to write jazz and "world music" reviews... gave it up because it just wasn't that much fun. (I'd rather play music for people than try to explain it in words.) At any rate, I used to see (and throw away!) a *lot* of press releases. Zorn hasn't done that kind of PR in a long time, but a lot of his material (meaning: releases on his labels) gets pride of place in many publications, both in print and web-only. (Some of the artists who record for Tzadik work with PR people; all of them are invited
to record by Zorn himself... so it's a pretty exclusive kind of club, in some ways.