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Frank Zappa - Road Tapes - Venue #2 CD (album) cover

ROAD TAPES - VENUE #2

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.40 | 28 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

darkshade
5 stars 20 years after Frank Zappa passed away, we are still getting new albums that rival some of the best ones released during his lifetime. This album is one of them. Recorded in 1973, in between the big-band, jazzy Wazoo era of Zappa's band, and the fusion/prog rock Roxy lineup. With names like Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, Bruce Fowler, Tom Fowler, and Ralph Humphrey in this band, you can expect the music to lean heavily on jazz-rock/fusion, and it does, and Zappa's music works well in the context of jazzier surroundings. Between this era, and the Wazoo era, you'll find some of the best (and most) jazz in all of Zappa's large output.

Ruth Underwood and Ian Underwood also return, and the former would stick around in Zappa's band, more or less, until '76.

This era of Zappa's music is all about the players. As there was no lead singer besides Frank in the band, and he hadn't become the cynical front man he would become after the Lather debacle, this left a lot of room for improv. If you're familiar with Jean-Luc Ponty's 70s jazz-rock albums, or some of George Duke's, you're in for a treat. There are plenty of Zappa's themes, and early versions of some classics, in fact, this version of RDNZL is my favorite, and is much more fusion-like than what it would become on Lather/Studio Tan (though the Piquantique version is better, or better yet, get the SBD of the show that that show comes from, which is from August 21, 73, only a couple of days before this album was recorded, from Zappateers.)

This is a lost classic. It's the equivalent of the first Lost Quintet of Miles Davis' band (eventually released as "It's About That Time" in 2001). A band that never got an official release until long after it ended. Over-nite Sensation features this band, but that album came out after these tours, and Zappa had tightened his music up by then, with the transition to the Roxy lineup completed later in the year. Road Tapes: Venue 2 shows this series will be a very good series for us fans, as this is one of the most interesting FZ albums in a long time, maybe since Wazoo, or Lather. Get it, this is for for casual fans and hardcore fans, or any fan of jazz-rock/fusion.

darkshade | 5/5 |

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