John Zorn Masada Rock (Tzadik Records) Celebrating a decade since the inception of his 10-disc Masada music project, experimental jazzman John Zorn is now using his Tzadik label to issue a series of five Masada re-interpretations. Each uses a different hand-picked ensemble to breathe new life into the avant-garde compositions. Volume Five of the series, Masada Rock, features Jon Madof's remarkable Rashanim band, a Brooklyn outfit that combines jazz, klezmer and power trio hard rock. The opening "Bahir" is like a Seventies guitar jam colliding with the psycho side of Sixties surf rock. "Makom" is a slow-picked rock solo, where hints of the shtetl can be detected at points, and "Shadrakh" combines brushed drums with beautiful Spanish guitar. Over the course of merely two recording sessions, Madof and company have created an instant keeper. With its raw energy and refined chops, Masada Rock makes an impression that lasts. Yehuda Benero Masada Song (Elisee Productions) While Jerry Lewis and Tom Jones are commonly considered kitsch, for some reason, things are different in France. It's this mentality that most inspires French oleh Yehuda Benero's debut album, a tribute to the bombastic crooning of yesteryear, delivered with Jewish themes. Recorded in three studios around the world but mostly at Jerusalem's Yellow Submarine, Masada Song combines the vocal styles of Elvis Presley and Tom Jones with the attitude of an elder Frank Sinatra and the theology of a newly religious Zionist. Benero wears his influences on his sleeve most obviously on the Sinatra semi-cover "My Way". But the Tom Jones energies emerge as the strongest inspirations, most notably on the soprano sax synthesizer effects-happy "Me-ein Olam Aba" (sic). Like Tom Jones did in 1999 with "Sexbomb," Benero updates his sound for today as well, using funky guitar riffs to eulogize Ilan Ramon and dancehall Hassidish pop to thank his Creator. Benero is a strange breed, and his approach might be esoteric enough to garner him success as a religious crooner in Israel.