zaterdag 18 december 2010

Zappa rules at 70

He should have been 70 by now, as an excellent special edition of MOJO reminds us. But cancer decided otherwise, so Frank Zappa is no longer among us, and that is a pity, for his family and friends of course, but also for fans of truly original music.
Happily there's a release from 'the vault' once in a while. Although the quality of the ones that already came out since Frank's death in '93 is uneven (Joes' Corsage, Menage and Domage are pretty poor..., Qaudiophiliac and Wazoo are brilliant) I look forward to everything that 'vaultmeister' Joe Travers (also drummer in Dweezil's Zappa plays Zappa band) prepares for release.
So I was eagerly waiting for this three cd-offering of a concert in Hammersmith Odeon (London), since it was recorded in 78, the period I started buying FZ-records (starting with Sheik Yerbouti and never ending since then). Well: it delivers fully, for 100 procent. This must be the best FZ cd since he left us all much too soon.
The band is one of the best that FZ ever had: Tommy Mars and Peter Wolf on keys (the synths replacing the horns on Zappa in NY), Adrian Belew on guitar; Patrick O'Hearn on bass, Terry Bozzio on drums and Ed Mann on percussion (and of course on FZ on guitar (my god...) and vocals).
Three hours long, they give you their all, and FZ leads them through some very essential compositions of his, like Pound for a Brown (more than 20 minutes!!), Peaches en Regalia, Envelopes, a stunning 'prequel' to Watermelon on Easter Hay, The Black Page, Black Napkins (what a melody!!!!) and many more. The lecture FZ gives on why he wrote I have been in you is really funny. At least: I laughed out loud!  And these three cd's made me smile from beginning till end. From shere excitement, total enjoyment of so much beauty, so many creamy melodies, such great guitar playing (the solo in The torture never stops is overwhelming!).
I realise there's a big nostalgia-factor explaining why I love this so much. Since I got to learn this music when I was 16, 17, and life was easy...  But nevertheless I sincerely think that these three hours of excellent music illustrate that FZ was a highly original voice in rock music, and remains one of it's greatest composers till this very day.
Enjoy it while you can!!!
Thank you Frank!