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Frank Zappa - Waka / Jawaka CD (album) cover

WAKA / JAWAKA

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.92 | 330 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

darkshade
5 stars WOW. Coming out of the Flo n Eddie period of Zappa's work after being thrown off stage and finding himself in a wheelchair for half a year, Frank Zappa did a 180 in 1972 and released two jazz-rock fusion albums, the first one being this, Waka/Jawaka. It's almost a little hard to imagine going from the music Frank made in 1970-71, to this. The music is classic 1970s jazz rock fusion with a full big band, so lots of horns, and synthesizers making a big part of the sound. Frank's guitar tone on these albums is very unique, I don't think he ever got the same tone again. His playing is in transition from the 60s/early 70s bluesy, hard edged sound, to more exploratory, technical playing that he'd be known for later in the decade and beyond.

This album is not far off from the fusion of Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi albums, though more intricately composed, and of course that Zappa flair that Herbie or Miles Davis obviously didn't have. Speaking of jazz guys, George Duke returns to the Zappa world, and it is here where he is used to his potential for the first time only to get better from here. He was in Frank's band during the Flo n Eddie years before leaving, but he was underutilized, and played more trombone than keyboards, and the music wasn't exactly fitting for Duke's keyboard style. He returns on this album and stayed with Frank until 1975. Ian Underwood is still around on this album, and plays some great synths as he always has. Ansley Dunbar also returns from the Flo n Eddie band on drums, always playing with a great swinging beat.

This is a great jazz-rock album, anyone into the genre needs to have this album in their collection. The album was recently re-released in 2012 on Universal, reverting back to the original, dry,and warm analog recording, so make sure you get that copy if you decide to pick this album up. You won't regret it.

darkshade | 5/5 |

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