Sunday, April 28, 2013

Frank Zappa Wazoo 2008

The Zappa Family Trust has been very busy ever since Zappa's untimely death in 1993. From 1966 to 1993 Zappa released 62 original studio and live albums. Since 1994, there have been 32 posthumous releases, some which had been planned and attended to by Frank himself before he died.

Gail Zappa has taken some heat for releasing too much material, while others await whatever might be doled out with anticipation. Some of this material is of questionable value, and only for the obsessed fan, but some of it betters many of the releases from Frank's lifetime, or adds a new and unique look into Zappa's work. The Zappa Family Trust has specifically stated the desire to document previously unheard live performances of rarely heard band line-ups.

Wazoo is the documentation of Zappa's short-lived 1972 Mothers Of Invention/Hot Rats/Grand Wazoo 20-piece big band, generally referred to as the Grand Wazoo (verses the Petite Wazoo 10-piece band that followed it). The music is Zappa's version of big band jazz, and as such, it is splendid. The songs are mostly culled from The Grand Wazoo 1972, Waka/Jawaka 1972, and the then future Studio Tan 1978. The performances are the usual startling precision of Zappa's live troupes, but with the biggest brassy jazz band that ever explored Zappa's jazz ideas. It is a performance that well deserved release. The recording is excellent. The band is on fire.

Some of the material is challenging for sure. The Grand Wazoo, Big Swifty, and The Adventures of Greggery Peccery are all lengthy pieces, and they demand your attention. This isn't background music. If Zappa's large jazz ideas interest you though, this is as good as it gets. It is the live jazz companion to the modern classical of The Yellow Shark. It's that good. Think what you may of Gail Zappa's motives, but we needed this record.

No comments:

Post a Comment