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Frank Zappa - Does Humor Belong In Music? CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



2.78 | 64 ratings

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2 stars For one who grew up on "Hot Rats" and an admirer of Zappa's pre-'80s works, this release is rather a non-event. Indeed, if it was my first experience of his works, it's very likely that it may have ended up to be my last, too.

There is nothing really wrong with the performance, but nothing much right either - that's in comparison. I bought the CD release many years ago, but I've let it go just after one spin. Still, there is little material available on Video (and sadly, hardly anything of his '73-'75 period many considers as his best). With that in mind I've obtained this DVD, not really expecting much from it.

So what's "not right" with it? A few things. Undoubtedly, the musicianship is generally excellent. bordering on shamelessly confident perfection and the song selection covers different periods. But Frank knows how to ruin an otherwise well-crafted tune and he is rather prone to do that far too often.

Re-writing a piece may represent improvements, but with Frank it's often the opposite. The hurried delivery of "Dinah-Moe Humm" is a prime example of that and enough to create disappointment. Unfortunately, such sped-up versions of otherwise great compositions appear quite frequently in his live renditions, representing a huge let-down. As if Frank was treating his audience with a degree of contempt.

On a different matter, I have become quite weary of the presence of Scott Thunes (bass). He plays with clinical - and rather robotic - precision that I find extremely irritating. On his blog- page, he admits to difficulties with improvising. Well, that is painfully obvious to me and practically it means that wherever he is featured represents my least fave Zappa releases. (Sorry Scott, but I just had to touch on this.)

My overall impression of this DVD is that hired hands delivering what Frank has paid for, but the true essence of the music is not really present.

If you are keen to watch an absolutely brilliant Zappa DVD, then "Zappa Plays Zappa: by Dweezil is the one. Great song selections with fantastic, heartfelt delivery fill that gap that Frank has largely ignored in his lifetime.

BORA | 2/5 |


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