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Frank Zappa - Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (The Box Set) CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.84 | 111 ratings

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The Mentalist
4 stars This 2 cd set was originally released back in the 80s as three individual records called 'Shut up 'n' play yer guitar' 'Shut up 'n' play yer guitar some more' and 'Return of the sun of 'shut up 'n' play yer guitar'. The albums were later packaged in a nice box and sold as three album box set. The 2 CD set contains all the tracks from the three albums . As the title suggest, it's all instrumental, improvised guitar solos, most of them recorded live (the last track - a studio recording - features Jean Luc Ponty playing baritone violin accompanied by Zappa on, wait for it. . .bouzouki.) All the solos were recorded before 1982 the year Zappa developed WHAMMY-BAR-FRENZY, as can be heard on his later two-CD set of guitar solos called "Guitar". 'Shut up 'n' play' shows Zappa without whammy bar and at the peak of his considerable improvising skills. There's no other guitar player alive able develop a solo the way Zappa could. Most of the time he solos over a static harmonic backdrop, or as Zappa himself liked to call it an "harmonic climate" usually consisting of no more than two chords played over and over. Above this "harmonic climate" Zappa improvises his sometimes demonic, sometimes very beautiful solos which are generally modal and exploit the harmonic ambiguities of the vamp. The two most startling examples of this technique are 'Treacherous cretins' and 'The Deathless horsie", both of which are played over a "quasi-reggae" backdrop. The other quality Zappa had that no other guitarist before or since has been able to aquire is his ability to play ridiculous polyrhythms. The two tracks mentioned above are also great examples of the way in which Zappa liked to defy the laws of physics by using complex tuplets to give the illusion of time expanding and contracting over a constant pulse - a pulse that sometimes seems to disappears altogether only to reappear again right on the downbeat as though nothing has happened. Of course none of this could have been achieved without ace drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, for this CD's as much about his virtuosity and artistry as it is Zappa's. Indeed, the interplay between Zappa and Colaiuta verges on the telepathic. If you like music that's excessive,extreme, edgy, passionate, risk-taking, in-your-face, and most importantly *improvised* (within a structured framework, that is, it's not a free for all) you might like to give this one a try. However, if you're new to Zappa's world, I don't advise you start with this album.
The Mentalist | 4/5 |


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