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Frank Zappa - The Grand Wazoo CD (album) cover

THE GRAND WAZOO

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.31 | 574 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Grand Wazoo is the sister album to Waka/ Jawaka and it was released in 1972 the same year as Waka/ Jawaka. The music on The Grand Wazoo is also in the same mostly instrumental jazz/ rock style. The original LP has a different tracklist than the CD version which means that For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers) is placed as track number one on the original LP while it is number two on the CD version. Iīm not sure what the reason is for that, but I guess itīs because the title track which is the song For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers) changed places with better represents the general style on the album than For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers) which is a very different song from the rest. I own both the original LP and the CD version but Iīll review the CD version as itīs the one Iīve been listening to the most.

The title track starts the album and itīs a 13:20 minutes long jazz/ rock jam with lots of soloing from both guitar, keyboards and brass. There are arranged big band like parts in the song too.

For Calvin ( And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers) is more in avant garde rock territory. Fans of Henry Cow would be pleased with this one. There are some eerie vocals and some great flute playing in the song and the part with singing is actually pretty psychadelic. The middle part of the song is in classical avant garde style. Very great challenging part. There is the typical Frank Zappa conceptual continuity in this song too. The avant garde part in the middle of the song is also a part of The Adventures of Greggery Peccary from Studio Tan.

Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus is one of those silly Zappa songs that I just canīt help liking. It features some humorous vocal performances and some western salon piano parts. Lots of brass in this song too.

Eat That Question is a jazz/ Rock tune with a great opening hard rock riff. Some nice soloing going on in this song.

Blessed Relief is my least favorite on the album. Itīs in jazz/ rock territory but itīs more subtle and features a theme that sounds a bit too close to the theme from M.A.S.H.

The musicianship is excellent on this album and besides Frank Zappaīs great guitar playing there are also lots of brass and woodwinds throughout the album. One of the best performances on the album is Aynsley Dunbarīs drumming though. He is such a powerful drummer yet sophisticated enough to play the technical parts with ease.

The production is very well done. Warm and pleasant.

The Grand Wazoo and Waka/ Jawaka will always stand as two very different albums in Frank Zappaīs discography. You can call them his experiment with jazz/ rock with a big band sound. I think he succeeded very well. I prefer Waka/ Jawaka but The Grand Wazoo is also a great album and it deserves 4 stars even though I usually skip Blessed Relief.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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