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Frank Zappa - Imaginary Diseases CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.90 | 81 ratings

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3 stars Zappa recorded over a period of 30 years nearly everything (concerts, studio sessions, miscellaneous), archived in his special vault. In the 80's Zappa decided to release a collection of live recordings from his vault, under the title 'You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore' on 6 double CD's plus some extra isolated concerts ('Ahead of Their Times' etc.) The crux of the biscuit is that Zappa was literally the only one who knew, what was on these thousands of hours of tape. So he chooses mainly by memory according to his own criteria: was it a good concert, a good solo or were there some interesting non-musical occurrences. Zappa loved to do 'collages', meaning he could take bits from completely different concerts and/or studio recordings and edit the material to real masterpieces. In the same way all his records are carefully assembled and obey to Zappa's conceptual continuity a mixture of great compositions, private jokes, excellent musicianship all these with added 'eyebrows'.

In 1972 after his 'accident' Zappa composed a couple of large scale Jazz Rock compositions released on 'Waka Jawaka' & 'The Grand Wazoo'. Once back on his legs he decided to make a tour with 'The Grand Wazoo Ensemble' to present the material, but for financial reasons the tour was not realisable and he finally made only a smaller North American tour with 'The Petit Wazoo Ensemble'.

So far no live recordings of this particular band were released and 'Imaginary Diseases' features for the first time recordings from 'The Petit Wazoo Tour' recorded between October and December 1972, assembled by Joe Travers, the dedicated 'vaultmeister,' who is responsible for the Zapparchives. Fist thing that hits the ear after a first listen is the absence of 'real' compositions. There is only one entirely composed track 'Rollo' which appeared before only on the YCDOSA series. All the other tracks are jams or improvised sections extracted from the original compositions. Zappa had done this himself especially on the 'Guitar' records, but these tracks featured his guitar solos with the band just playing an appropriate groove behind him. This is not the case here: the jams here feature some shorter solos, but they don't match the famous elaborated solo sections that appeared on 'Guitar, leaving mainly ensemble sections that are well executed but on the long run not really interesting.' Farther O'Blivion' contains material from 'Greggery Peckary' and 'The Bebop Tango' but the track is too long and slightly boring.

Towards the last part of 'DC Boogie', another long jam, Zapppa slows the band down and asks the audience how they would like the track to end: a sa Boogie, a Valse etc. and finally, after an audience shouting poll ends the track as a Boogie presenting a riff from 'Waka Jawaka'. The band itself is fine, the music as usual with Zappa very well executed- with six woodwind & brass players more on the jazzy side and less rock then the 'Wazoo' & 'Waka Jawaka' recordings.

Under the line even for a big Zappa fan like me, the record is a little boring: the CD lacks the 'real' compositions, I would have rather preferred to have one entire concert instead of a collection of jams, that are just not outstanding enough.

Alucard | 3/5 |


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