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Various Artists (Tributes) - Mappa Zappa EP CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Tributes)


Various Genres

4.00 | 2 ratings

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4 stars Mappa Zappa EP was the follow-up to the LP of the same name (2018). Curated by for release by Cordelia Records, both compilations cover Zappa material that has something nominally to do with geography. You can see a bit more context on the above orgs. respective websites, or check out my review of the aforementioned LP for further details. This EP certainly proves concentrated is [often] best.

This Mappa Zappa begins with an apparently extended version of the already-covered "Been to Kansas City in A Minor" as [already] performed by Fred Handl (this recording is nearly 3 minutes longer than their same submission to the LP). Now, if that 7-minute version was way too Blues for way too long to be all that enjoyable to me, how else am I to greet a nearly-10-minute version?... I believe this angry monologue is the same as from the first release. Low and slow, it starts with an acoustic piano solo. Still the saving graces to this track are the later solos, first via mallets, then a crunchy and apparently greatly improved guitar solo. I just don't recall enjoying the latter, at least, as much that first listen. Either way, the song itself is still quite meh to yours truly. Up next is the Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra's more hurried, modernist take on the Over-Nite Sensation (1973) classic: "Montana Revisited". I'm really enjoying it! Perhaps comparable to some of the renditions by Dweezil's earlier Zappa Plays Zappa group. Their outright embrace of synths in particular, I will add, is extra fresh here. They use an interesting tone approaching the middle that sounded like early-70s Todd Rundgren. Lovely. This is followed by a not-so-extended guitar solo, played most 'Frankly'. I feel this version is an absolutely wonderful addition to Zappa's legacy; and it's not like they did anything way out there, either.

Up next is a very unique version of "Aybe Sea", from the wonderful Caballero Reynaldo. This is such a happy departure for me from the already-fun and -quirky Burnt Weeny Sandwich original (1970). The melody is entirely sung, group-style! Just some fun. And finally, starting off most reminiscent to me of Zoot Allures at large, "Bognor Regis" is most jammy, performed here by the only group not present on the previous LP (though I recognize them from other Cordelia releases), Jerry Outlaw and Friends. I think they kept with the general Zappa plot: plenty of interest herein, from delicious little trills on what I assume synth to the horn arrangement throughout. And then we get this absolutely searing guitar solo, made duet with an equally fiery sax. Fantastic stuff, and a helluva closer! These are true Zappaheads, as this was released later this same year for the first time in the Zappa catalog on The Hot Rats Sessions (2019).

True Rate: 3.75/5.00

DangHeck | 4/5 |


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