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Frank Zappa - The Grand Wazoo CD (album) cover

THE GRAND WAZOO

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.31 | 598 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Frank Zappa is best served up with his oddities of musical flair where musical instruments compete against each other and the time sigs are all over the place, and he allows soloists to unleash their fury in improvisations and jamming extended breaks. On "The Grand Wazoo" the band do just that and at times the music takes off out of the atmosphere. On a personal level it takes me some patience to get through this type of music as it is so intense and layered it is hard to latch onto but it grows on the ear over time.

It begins with the stunning title epic that has the band exploding into a paroxysm of musical genius, or they may be just laying what the heck they like. I would hate to see the musical sheetnotes for this stuff. It is absolutely insane music and blows the doors of what might be musical boundaries. As far as Zappa was concerned, hang the rules and just play the way we feel. It really feels like a mess in places but it is a lot of fun to hear.

'For Calvin (and his next two hitch hikers) is a piece of whimsy with that low groaning vocal that I am never a fan of, and then a freakout of musical crassness, and there is a chance for Zappa to shine on his accomplished infamous guitar runs.

It is followed by the weirdness of 'Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus' where the jazz fusion is a prominent thread running throughout, especially on the scat vocals that are hilarious at times. The jazz becomes even more prominent on 'Eat That Question' especially the brass sounds that are simply astonishing virtuosos playing. Finally the jazz locks in nicely on 'Blessed Relief' with trumpet solo extraordinaire playing and a gorgeous keyboard solo; the relaxing jazz signature of percussion and bass is easily recognizable by any lover of jazz so it will appeal to the jazzaholic. The ending with swirling keyboard chimes, and clarinet with a smattering of horns over a nice acoustic and wah-wah guitar sound works well. Great music to kick up the feet and relax after a hard day.

Heaps of reviewers rave eloquent at how brilliant this is, I will probably get lynched by the Zappa fan club, but overall I personally found that the album does not really have enough quirkiness and memorable moments as other Zappas such as the incomparable "Hot Rats", "Zappa In New York" or "One Size Fits All" for my taste. I was surprised at its serious tone in the second half in particular that was just a jazz scape, but it is nevertheless a seriously great jazz fusion album and yet another one to prize in the legacy of Zappa..

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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