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

ZAPPA IN NEW YORK

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.20 | 185 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

friso
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Frank Zappa - Zappa in New York (live) (1978, recorded in 1976)

Zappa delivers a short 2lp live album of 60 minutes of running time, which was lengthened considerably on 2cd re-release. By this time Zappa and his band were about as professional and technically developed as possible and the live versions of all the songs are flawless whilst the sound crystal clear and way ahead of it´s time.

The band of Zappa has some interesting members, with Terry Bozzio (drums) and Eddy Jobson (keys, violin) playing together among a long list of other very talented musicians. Later they would record the first UK album. The fast themes and rhythmically sophisticated themes are played perfectly and the sound is always in perfect balance. The guitars of Zappa sound fantastic, though I would have loved to see some of his great playing. I like the ´sophisticated narration´ of Dan Pardo, he has a way with selling crazy stories.

When listening to a Zappa record of this period you can expect two things. Silly, stand-up comedian like tracks with spoken word, pop and soul influences. The lyrics are about strange things, like in for instance ´The Illinois Enema Bandit´. Besides that you can expect to hear the best of progressive compositions with soft avant-garde leanings like ´Sofa´ and the ´Black Page´ parts. On ´The Purple Lagoon´ we also get 18 minutes of different solo´s from most instruments.

With Frank Zappa records it´s always a mix of silly material that can´t sink low enough and masterful compositions that makes it both interesting and incoherent. Those who like the technical and inventive side of the music are forced to listen to the funny-for-one-time tracks like ´Titties and Beer´. These tracks are the main ingredient of side 1 and side 3, whilst the instrumental track prevail on the other two sides.

Conclusion. A well recorded and played live album by Frank Zappa and his band, but it lacks enough progressive elements to get a fourth star, it simply has too much silliness for my taste. Still a great album for fans and perhaps even newcomers.

friso | 3/5 |

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