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Frank Zappa - Waka / Jawaka CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.91 | 456 ratings

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3 stars Something of a sequel to "Hot Rats", recorded while FRANK ZAPPA was in convalescence following a serious stage accident. Maybe it's the product of an itchy cast or a febrile mind, but Waka/Jawaka is more restless than usual; noisy, Frankly. The opening "Big Swifty" is standoffishly notey, forsaking the warm jazz/classical tones of earlier (and future) works to indulge in an agitated jam that smacks of post-bop elitism on a sprawling scale. At least that's my take on it, though listeners who revel in jazz excess for its own sake might see big plans afoot here. Better by far is the instrumental "Waka/Jawaka", a clear harbinger of the music for small, horny orchestra that would pop up all over The Grand Wazoo. In between the two "serious" works are a pair of vocal songs: the demented Dixieland blues (sorry, that's not quite it at all) of "Your Mouth" and the delightful "It Might Just Be A One- Shot Deal." Both could be seen as extensions of "Chunga's Revenge" ("Road Ladies" and "Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink", respectively), though "One-Shot Deal" is such a prime example of ZAPPA's warped, offhand genius that I put it on something of a pedestal. Yet among the great Dubyas (Weeny, Weasels, Wazoo), Waka/Jawaka's is an intermittent intelligence, an experiment that creates a lot of smoke but no groundbreaking realizations.

Given that some folks' antennae go up when they hear FRANK and fusion cited in the same sentence, all I can do is offer the cautionary caveat that Waka/Jawaka leaves many of my FRANK ZAPPA fusion buttons unpushed.

daveconn | 3/5 |


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