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Frogg Cafe

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Frogg Cafe The Safenzee Diaries album cover
3.70 | 20 ratings | 6 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD1: (70:21)
1. Leave Of Absinthe (8:24)
2. Space Dust (8:38)
3. Gagutz (11:17)
4. Candy Korn (12:17)
5. Il Gioco (5:17)
6. Creatures (10:57)
7. You're Still Sleeping (13:31)

CD2: (66:06)
1. Small Chuwawa (10:18)
2. Fat Guys In Shorts (8:35)
3. Abyss Of Dissension (14:18)
4. Tagliarini (10:11)
5. The Gold Ambler (6:30)
6. Asleep On The Rim (8:17)
7. Cut And Run (7:57)

Total Time: 136:27

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Ayasse / violin, vocals
- James Guarnieri / drums
- John Lieto / trombone
- Nick Lieto / trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards, vocals
- Andrew Sussman / bass, vocals
- Steve Uh / guitar, keyboards, violin, vocals

Releases information

2CD 10t records

Thanks to Rivertree for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
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FROGG CAFE The Safenzee Diaries ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FROGG CAFE The Safenzee Diaries reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Frogg Café's music has always amazed me because it blends the elements of jazz, symphony, Zappa-ism as well as rock into a beautifully crafted compositions. Their third album "Fortunate Observer Of Time" is excellent. And now the band comes up with a live double CD album with a nice digipak version including a series of excellent photos. If you are a Zappa fan, it's more likely that you would love Frogg Café music. Their msic is truly brilliant and excellent.

The CD starts with a bass solo as an intro of "Leave Of Absinthe" (8:24) followed with a stream of excellent music in medium tempo showcasing a good combination of brass section as well as electric guitar. The trumpet solo is really cool. "Space Dust" (8:38) enters beautifully in medium tempo with tight bass lines and a bit of Canterbury style when alto sax gives its work. "Gagutz" (11:17) is really an excellent track that I expect the band plays. It comprised great solo especially on violin and it reminds me to Jean Luc Ponty or Mahavisnu Orchestra music. It's really cool and entertaining.

"Candy Korn" (12:17) sounds like a big band with dynamic music opening which combines staccato music of violin, keyboard, trumpet and dynamic drumming. The trumpet solo in the middle of the track makes a good live vibe of the performance. "Il Gioco" (5:17) flows in relatively upbeat tempo with excellent brass section work. "Small Chuwawa" (10:18) is something like a blend of Zappa and Jean Luc Ponty music / Mahavishnu Orchestra. It's cool. "Abyss Of Dissension" (14:18) is performed better than the studio track.

Overall, this is an excellent live performance with excellent sonic quality that helps make more pleasant listening experience If you enjoy jazz and Frank Zappa, you must have this album. It's a terrific live album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars All that is mising is you

In my review of Noodles by Frogg Caffe I said there are far better Frogg Cafe albums and this is most assuredly one of them. When I met them after their performance at Calprog 2007 Andrew Sussman put this in my hand after I purchased Noodles and said I think you will like this one much better. He was correct. This is as fine a live offering as I have heard in recent years. Some tracks were recorded live in the studio and others at various concerts such as Nearfest 2005 and the New Jersey Proghouse in 2004.

Both CDs have a great mixture of songs from their three studio releases, 2 from each, as well as one from Noodles Tagliarini but what really makes this package special is it also contains 7 previously unreleased songs and I challenge you to tell me without looking which are from albums and which are previously unreleased. The music is what you expect from Frogg Cafe; great Jazz parts in the mold of Miles Davis, heavily sprinkled with Frank Zappa with a splash of Mahavishnu and Return to Forever, several tablespoons of Umphreys McGee and pinch of avant-gard. Some of the better tracks are Gagutz, Space Dust, Candy Corn, Creatures , Samll Chuwawa, Fat Guys in Shorts (they have been to too many prog fests), Abyss of Dissension heck there isn't a bad track on here.

As for the players these guys are stellar. Almost all the members have degrees or studied music at College and it shows. Bill Ayasse will invoke memories of Jean Luc-Ponty and Jerry Goodman on his violin. Andrew Sussman is a great fusion style bass player and decent vocalist as well, Steve Uh is a talented yet undersated guitarist who shines in may of these tracks. James Guarnieri is a great drummer in every style they perform and Nick Lieto is versatile guy who handles various brass as well as keyboards. At any given concert they may enlist the services of others on various horns, marima and other assorted instruments.

I am very pleased with this album and I am hard pressed to think of better live one released in the last ten years. The song selection and mastering is perfect. If you are fan of any of the influences I mentioned then get this album you won't be disappointed. 4.5 stars

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

This double live album is my first exposition the the band's musical universe and not even from that long ago. Despite being aware of these guy's existence, and fellow United- Statians French TV, both bands' name kept being pushed back down the shopping list, for there were always greater urgent matters to attend (or so it seemed) at the time. I finally plunged and decided to enter their world with this double live album, which often a safe bet as an introduction. Little did I know that only half of the tracks of this release are simply not on their four previous studio albums. Anyway, the group's line-up promised a strange and unusual sound (given a full-time trombonist and violinist, but both "doubled" by part-timers violin and wind-man, but it ends-up sonically somewhere between Zappa's silly universe (they were after all, a Zappa tribute before being FC), sometimes Kansas-y sound (Creatures) and a dynamic and uncharacteristically indefinable JR/F, which relies much on improvised soloing, although I wouldn't classify them as a jam band either. But if jam band comparison I'd have to shout, I'd say Phish or - as crazy as it may seem - Spin Doctor (the early albums anyway), but it's nothing definitive.

The fourteen tracks (all but two being above the 8-mins length and stretching as far as 14+) were selected from various live shows or recordings in the North-eastern US between late- 04 and mid-06. On the whole, it appears like the first disc is mostly pre-06 real concerts, featuring studio album tracks, while the second one mainly features '06 live-studio more- improvised tracks. There seems to be a certain kind of neutral objectivity in the selection of this double disc's track list, since there seem to be just two tracks from per previous studio albums. I won't judge on the pertinence of the individual selections in context of their respective albums, since I know next to nothing of them, except what's presented here. But it seems that their Zappa origins are more audible on their earlier albums (again based on what's presented to me here), but their sung material is more bent on Kansas (the vocals, but the violin as well) with some brassy jazz interruptions. As for the non-albums tacks present on the SD, I'd choose the second half of the second disc as my faves.

Clearly Ayasse's main influence is JL Ponty's violin, but Robby Steinhardt's as well, while Lieto's trombone is clearly one of the most impressive on the East-side of the Pecos River, especially when seconded by his brother's wind-instrument fondling (hear Candy Korn's amazing second part). You'll also catch some Gentle Giant moments in the Abyss track.The latter shares duties on keys with guitarist Uh, while the latter diddles the violin as well. Are you sure you're following me? Neither am I, so don't worry, because it's quite difficult to follow who's playing what, where and when. But in the end, it doesn't matter, because it's the amazing interplay of the sextet that makes the band click.

This good two hours+'s worth of music should give you good idea that the best place to grasp the band's essence would be on stage (how about playing on Froggland someday, guys?), because they're relatively lengthy improvisations is an excellent exhibit of their stage and live aptitudes. Indeed, these tracks' general enthusiasm is contagious (probably due to the lesser constraints compared to their studio-composed sisters), and if there are some lengths, it never gets boring or overstay their welcome. A fitting intro to the band's overall aural realm (especially on a stage), but maybe lacking enough material to judge on their studio capacities. If I can judge by the only other album of theirs I have (their newest BE release), either the band evolved tremendously, or the studio works are simply not very representative of their early career! I think the former solution is much more likely, though. To give a honest but fairly-uninitiated advice, from this double live album, Bateless Edge seems to be their best (from far) studio album.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars FROGG CAFE have a reputation for putting on a killer live show so this first live double album from them is welcomed indeed. Andy Sussman the bass player had this to say about it. "This is a true representation of the energy of our music, which on a studio album is very hard to achieve.This release represents the best of hundreds of hours of live shows and live in the studio jams.This really is a road trip musical diary of all our great memories and crazy moments on stage and off". It was cool for me to hear some of the songs from their first two albums which I don't own as well. A six piece band with violin, trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn and the usual Rock instruments, these guys still recall Zappa at times which shouldn't be surprising since they started out as a Zappa cover band called LUMPY GRAVY.These are world-class musicians who aren't afraid to change a song completely or to improvise along the way.

So we get some in studio jams as well as live tracks from Nearfest, the NJ Proghouse, Nectar's, Orion Studios and many other locations between 2004 and 2006.

All of these songs are excellent but my favourite two are "Fat Guys In Shorts" which sounds incredible. I like how dark it gets too later on. A powerful tune. I like "Cut And Run" a lot too for it's intensity, and you keep expecting them to explode but they never do.

Easily 4 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A stunning career overview of this multi tallented band. As if to prove what capable musicians they are, the entire compilation is taken from live performances, whether in a studio or in front of an (appreciative) audience. For me the second CD contains the best work, the highlight being Abyss ... (read more)

Report this review (#134601) | Posted by Starless | Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Music that incorporates elements of progressive rock, jazz-rock and fusion jazz into a sound that is really personal. Peppered with an appealing variety of other flavors including latin music and avant-garde/experimental, their music is very energetic and powerful. Recorded live (or in studio but ... (read more)

Report this review (#133684) | Posted by BronDune | Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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