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Frank Zappa Imaginary Diseases album cover
3.90 | 81 ratings | 9 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Live, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Oddients (1:12)
2. Rollo (3:20)
3. Been To Kansas City In A Minor (10:14)
4. Farther O'Blivion (16:01)
5. D.C. Boogie (13:26)
6. Imaginary Diseases (9:44)
7. Montreal (9:11)

Total Time: 63:08

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / conductor, guitar, vocals
- Malcolm McNabb / trumpet
- Gary Barone / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Tom Malone / tuba, saxes, piccolo trumpet, trumpet
- Earl Dumler / woodwinds
- Glenn Ferris / trombone
- Bruce Fowler / trombone
- Tony Duran / slide guitar
- Dave Parlato / bass
- Jim Gordon / drums

Releases information

CD Zappa Records (ZR 20001), 2006

Thanks to Joren for the addition
and to Joren for the last updates
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FRANK ZAPPA Imaginary Diseases ratings distribution

(81 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FRANK ZAPPA Imaginary Diseases reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Zappa recorded over a period of 30 years nearly everything (concerts, studio sessions, miscellaneous), archived in his special vault. In the 80's Zappa decided to release a collection of live recordings from his vault, under the title 'You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore' on 6 double CD's plus some extra isolated concerts ('Ahead of Their Times' etc.) The crux of the biscuit is that Zappa was literally the only one who knew, what was on these thousands of hours of tape. So he chooses mainly by memory according to his own criteria: was it a good concert, a good solo or were there some interesting non-musical occurrences. Zappa loved to do 'collages', meaning he could take bits from completely different concerts and/or studio recordings and edit the material to real masterpieces. In the same way all his records are carefully assembled and obey to Zappa's conceptual continuity a mixture of great compositions, private jokes, excellent musicianship all these with added 'eyebrows'.

In 1972 after his 'accident' Zappa composed a couple of large scale Jazz Rock compositions released on 'Waka Jawaka' & 'The Grand Wazoo'. Once back on his legs he decided to make a tour with 'The Grand Wazoo Ensemble' to present the material, but for financial reasons the tour was not realisable and he finally made only a smaller North American tour with 'The Petit Wazoo Ensemble'.

So far no live recordings of this particular band were released and 'Imaginary Diseases' features for the first time recordings from 'The Petit Wazoo Tour' recorded between October and December 1972, assembled by Joe Travers, the dedicated 'vaultmeister,' who is responsible for the Zapparchives. Fist thing that hits the ear after a first listen is the absence of 'real' compositions. There is only one entirely composed track 'Rollo' which appeared before only on the YCDOSA series. All the other tracks are jams or improvised sections extracted from the original compositions. Zappa had done this himself especially on the 'Guitar' records, but these tracks featured his guitar solos with the band just playing an appropriate groove behind him. This is not the case here: the jams here feature some shorter solos, but they don't match the famous elaborated solo sections that appeared on 'Guitar, leaving mainly ensemble sections that are well executed but on the long run not really interesting.' Farther O'Blivion' contains material from 'Greggery Peckary' and 'The Bebop Tango' but the track is too long and slightly boring.

Towards the last part of 'DC Boogie', another long jam, Zapppa slows the band down and asks the audience how they would like the track to end: a sa Boogie, a Valse etc. and finally, after an audience shouting poll ends the track as a Boogie presenting a riff from 'Waka Jawaka'. The band itself is fine, the music as usual with Zappa very well executed- with six woodwind & brass players more on the jazzy side and less rock then the 'Wazoo' & 'Waka Jawaka' recordings.

Under the line even for a big Zappa fan like me, the record is a little boring: the CD lacks the 'real' compositions, I would have rather preferred to have one entire concert instead of a collection of jams, that are just not outstanding enough.

Review by lor68
4 stars Well probably this is one of the most unknown works by Frank Zappa, as well as one of the best performances - within a sort of progressive jazz - based on the best stuff by Coltrane and Miles Davis (moreover according to the stunning arrangement of a crazy superb musician like Frank). As a matter of fact here He plays with the band from a couple of great albums such as Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo, giving the present I.D. an experimental jazz emphasis, enriched with amazing jam sessions - also by means of a tasteful "blues" guitar (listen to one of his best tracks entitled "Been to Kansas City"). Well I like the horn arrangements very much within this latter, but The Petit Wazoo in general represents the peek of a music genre, even though sometimes it's harsh, but often outstanding!! At the end I would always like to listen to his best style (I think for instance of an "Apostrophe" like theme inside, which is perhaps too much extended but it's quite incredible after all...), by forgetting a few weaker guitar lines and his prolix harmonic excursions too ,I regard this I.D. album as one of his "must-have" works for all seasons!!
Review by tarkus1980
3 stars Prior to his death, Zappa spent a good deal of time compiling and remastering material that didn't get released until many years later. This album is one of those releases, and it covers an era of Zappa's history that hadn't previously gotten adequate coverage: his "Petite Wazoo" band, a ten-person band that Zappa used live in the aftermath of Waka Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo. As expected, this release has as its foundation the kind of big band jazz fusion that made up those albums, yet it stretches decently beyond that, and I prefer this to either of those albums.

The album starts off a little slowly, and I actually thought at first this would be a somewhat tedious listen. After a pointless introduction in "Oddients," we get an early version of "Rollo," which was later featured in live performances of the Apostrophe suite, and it's just kinda ok. "Been to Kansas City in A Minor" is a fun blues/jazz workout, but it's a little overlong, and while the 16-minute "Farther Oblivion" contains a lot of differences from its near-namesake on Apostrophe (with a lot of features that would later make it into other songs), it's not great enough to justify its length.

The rest of the album is really great, though. "D.C. Boogie" starts off as a totally enthralling fusion piece, with an almost psychedelic air about it and guitar soloing that's largely atypical of Zappa, and if it stopped after five minutes it would already be a sure lock for the album's best song. Instead, Zappa unexpectedly stops the song in the middle (with the band underpinning him as he addresses the audience), takes a poll of the audience as to how they'd like the song to end, and he has the band close out with a fun boogie that features great guitar interplay. It's definitely one of the most fun things I've ever heard Zappa do, and the combination of the two halves of the song are enough to make this one of my favorite Zappa live tracks.

The album finishes with a pair of great jams in the title track (with great interplay between the guitars and the brass and woodwinds) and "Montreal" (which is basically an extended guitar solo, but a top-tier Zappa extended guitar solo, so it's great). Both tracks are well over nine minutes in length, but they fly by, and it's a real pleasure to lose myself in the sounds of these numbers. Gosh, why did there have to be two live albums from the Flo & Eddie era, but this is the only material we got from this era?

This may be a posthumous release, and it may not be impeccable from start to finish, but I'd hate to imagine a 70's Zappa fan not having heard the best stuff on here. It actually kinda makes me wonder what would have happened had Zappa pursued this path more thoroughly, instead of changing things up again ...

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars This was one of the albums many of us Zappaphiles had been waiting for. And it delivers. With all of the live recordings Frank had allowed us to hear over the years, he never released anything of "The Petit Wazoo". But here it is in all of it's splendor.

The only piece that is totally familiar is Rollo which later became the grandiose finale to the Don't Eat Yellow Snow suite. Farther O'Blivion (not the section of Yellow Snow) contains sections of The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary, The Be-Bop Tango and other later songs, but stands out on it's own.

The rest of the album is mostly jams, with some incredible horn playing and some of Zappa's finest soloing. But there are some other written sections thrown in as well, that will delight the hard core Zappa fan.

It's good to know that there may still be some more gems like this in the Zappa vault.

This probably should rate four stars, but listening to it always make me feel so good that I have to give it five.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Finally, the band line-up with no real official documentation as far as live recordings go, was finally released posthumously by Joe Travers. The news of this release had all the Zappaphiles salivating because of the rarity of official recordings of the band know as The Petit Wazoo Tour. This album is a collection of various live recordings done during that tour in 1972.

This is the one to get for the small version of the jazz band (consisting of 10 members-the compact version of The Grand Wazoo tour which consisted of 20 members). If you love jazz fusion, this is essential. It is completely instrumental except for some very short comments by Zappa, mostly instructions for the band or introduction of songs. This album is a jazz feast and also has many amazing guitar solos thrown in for good measure.

The first track is a strange avant-garde piece just over a minute long which I think is actually a snippet of a longer song. It involves some strange sounds and audience chanting. Not really sure why this is here as it doesn't really introduce anything or give any indication of what the rest of the album is like. The next track is "Rollo" which would later become the closing instrumental to the "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" suite that would later be released on the album "Apostrophe(')", but the interesting thing is that "Rollo" was left off of the album and up until the release of this album, was largely unheard on any recorded album by FZ. It is a short, yet ambitious piece, which here sounds like it was part of a larger performance. It's the third track that really gets things going for the rest of the album. "Been to Kansas City in A Minor" is a very nice jazz-blues track which goes on for 10 minutes. It starts out innocently enough but it picks up steam as it rolls along featuring some great solos with brass and woodwinds and culminating in a rip roaring guitar solo from FZ. At this point, you know what you are in for with the rest of the album.

Following this is a 16 minute track called "Farther O'Blivion". Note the spelling on this track. Remember that this tour was before the release of "Apostrophe(')" and this track has absolutely nothing to do with "Father O'blivion" (again notice the difference in spelling) from the "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" suite. It is an extended jam given the jazz treatment in this instance and contains hints of future Zappa classics. You can hear where "Gregory Peccary", "Be-Bop Tango", and "Cucamonga" come from. This is the highlight of the album and features solos extraordinaire throughout the piece. The 16 minutes fly by as themes change and styles vary throughout going from a swing section to a drum and tuba solo.

The next track is "D.C. Boogie" which starts out as a jazzy guitar solo at mid--tempo and eventually, Zappa takes a vote from the audience on how the songs should end, to which the audience demands it end with a Boogie. which he gladly obliges. You can hear hints of the guitar solo that would become the title track for the "Apostrophe (')" album. The title track comes next, and it has a basis of a funk groove which is the base for Zappa soloing at first which finally breaks into echoes of "The Gumbo Variations". The last track is "Montreal" which takes on a mid-tempo sound with more guitar soloing and some great backing by the band.

These tracks don't fall into the trap of some later FZ solos where the guitar is underplayed by an uninteresting backup. The band rolls right along with Frank through his solos and it sounds very full and jazzy throughout with the rock undertones of his guitar. This is a great collection of tracks from live show and it is an essential collection for those interested in the jazz music of Frank Zappa. It is one of the best posthumous released and features a lot of music unavailable officially anywhere else. Zappa fans will consider it a must have, but jazz fans should consider it essential also because it highlights Zappa's composition skills and musicianship, but also the talent of his band at the time. This is a 5 star collection all the way, just don't pay attention to that strange first track and you will agree.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. This is an archival release from 2006 of live music that Zappa did in the Fall of 1972 into December calling the tour "The Petit Wazoo Tour". This is the first recordings of that tour released to the public making a lot of Zappa fans very happy in 2006. This tour followed the larger one they did previous called "The Grand Wazoo Tour" with a bigger band and more. Here we have a ten piece and half play horns while another adds woodwinds. I only recognize Frank's name here.

As others have said this comes across as collection of jams and while the horns don't do a lot for me most of the time especially when they blast away, I find Frank's guitar work really engaging. Like his style on my favourite track "D.C. Boogie". That first 5 1/2 minutes are my favourite on this record and Frank's style has a lot to do with that. It does change after that though so I'm not completely sold on this one. The opener is experimental with audience participation. "Rollo"is one I've heard before and horns blast away here. "Been To Kansas City In A Minor" is pretty good with the horns and guitar soloing much of the time. Frank says "thankyou" a couple of times when it ends. Zappa announces the next track "Farther O'Blivion" with a Tango in the middle of it". At 16 minutes it's the longest. A 3 minute drum solo late. Not big on the closer "Montreal" but the title track is good with those punchy sounds including horns. By the way Frank asks the audience how they want "D.C. Boogie" to end and goes by their applause for each choice of Boogie, Ballad, Marching, Polka or Dog Food Jingle they chose the first one obviously. My rating is for the music and not how significant this release is.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Frank Zappa at his artistic peak. Ten piece group with 6 horn men. Entirely instrumental tracks with truly inspired performances. Impeccable drumming, fantastic horn work, ripping guitar solos and tasteful bass playing is what makes up performances on this, arguably the best Frank Zappa archiv ... (read more)

Report this review (#74067) | Posted by stereomouse | Tuesday, April 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is representative of the tour on which I first heard Zappa's band play live -- at Winterland, in San Francisco, in December 1972. The music herein is therefore very sentimental to me, but is very unlike the typical Zappa fare that came afterward, on which most of his latter-day popu ... (read more)

Report this review (#71589) | Posted by | Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A welcome addition to any serious Zappa collection. This release fills in a curious blank spot in the catalog. For whatever reason this period was completely left off the "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore" series. Anyone who likes "Waka Jawaka" and "Grand Wazoo" will want this, as this is ... (read more)

Report this review (#68794) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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