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Frank Zappa - Zappa in New York CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.25 | 318 ratings

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Jim Garten
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin & Razor Guru
5 stars In late 1976, Zappa collected the great and the good of New York Jazz (including the incomparable Brecker brothers) to supplement his current lineup of top line musicians, and played three shows which showcased exactly what could be done when jazz and avant-garde rock combined. The result is this double album, which is all but essential for existing Zappa fans, or newcomers alike.

From the sublime 'Cruisin' for burgers' and 'The Purple Lagoon' to the ridiculous 'Titties & Beer' and 'The Illinois Enema Bandit', this group of musicians gel like no lineup had previously, and only rarely managed afterward (perhaps only the early 1980's stripped down 6 piece band were as tight and cohesive.....).

One real gem of a discovery Zappa had with this album was the first showing of a little known rhythm guitarist/vocalist, Ray White - his soaring, soulful vocals during 'Enema Bandit' are a real highlight on this album, so no wonder Zappa kept him in the band (on & off) until the mid '80's.

Keeping the band together you have the Bozio/O'Hearn rhythm section - if not joined at the hip, then certainly joined at the muse (pretentious, moi?) - with these guys at the back, the combined forces of New York's jazz illuminati could work magic in the extended jam of 'Purple Lagoon'.

Elsewhere on the album you have the crowd pleasers, 'Sofa', 'Big Leg Emma' and Bozio's two finest vocal moments, 'Titties & Beer' (a finer devil incarnate, you'll never hear), and the hysterical 'Punky's Whips' (the cause of many a lawyer's letter......).

If Bozio & O'Hearn kept things together at the back - who better than to lead from the front than Zappa; his vocals & searing guitar work takes this album from the merely excellent, to the truly magical.

Overall - no hesitation whatsoever in granting 'Live In New York' the full 5 stars - the album is without a doubt, faultless, and a truly essential purchase for officianados of prog, jazz, jazz/rock or just sheer musicianship.

Jim Garten | 5/5 |


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