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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.34 | 1683 ratings

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the philosopher
4 stars Hot Rats is Frank Zappa's first solorecord. On PA The Mothers of Inventions and Frank Zappa are placed both under the name of Frank Zappa, although there are some differences. If I'd compare Hot Rats to Uncle Meat, which was released in the same year by the Mothers, then the first thing I get in mind is that Hot Rats is far less avant-garde/RIO. There are no polyrhythms or avant-jazz saxophones and the compositions are far more accessible with less shifts in moods or rhythms. Hot Rats is less absurd instrumentally as well as in vocals. This may be the biggest reason that Hot Rats is one of the most appreciated Frank Zappa records in Prog Archives.

This music falls into the jazz-rock fusion category with long, almost endless, solo's of Frank Zappa on guitar, Jean Luc Ponty on Violins and Ian Underwood on Piano, flute, clarinet and saxophone. There are different drummers active during the album and in some occasions Zappa is playing bass. Don van Vliet alias Captain Beefheart takes care of the vocals on the only vocal song "Willie the Pimp". This is rock with jazz and blues influences. The soundscapes are in the like of the Mothers, but as I said before without the absurdities.

Although Jimi Hendrix pointed at Frank Zappa about the question of the greatest guitarist at the time, I think that Zappa's greatest skill was his composition writing. Especially the compositions of "Peaches en Regalia", "Son of Mr. Green Genes" and "Litle Umbrella's" are great. Frank Zappa just really knew how to use several instruments in an effective way and during the compositions some melodies are taken over by other instruments for giving the song another atmosphere. On some of these songs the guitarplaying of Zappa is of minor importance and especially Ian Underwood is playing the intellectual passages. For fans of Zappa as a guitarist there are plenty of changes on this record of appreciation. Zappa plays very tight and mostly with the wah-wah pedal going up and down.

Some of the solo's durations may be a bit too long. I do prefer the previous Uncle Meat, because this was more exciting because of the continual surprises and avant-garde approach. This record is a very nice addition and advised for those who want to check out Frank Zappa for the first time and for lovers of the Jazz-rock fusion genre. Also for symphonic and eclectic prog fans this is a record to check out. Prepare for endless jams.

the philosopher | 4/5 |


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