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WAZOO

Frank Zappa

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Frank Zappa Wazoo album cover
3.96 | 50 ratings | 5 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Live, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc One
1. Intro Intros (3:19)
2. The Grand Wazoo (Think It Over) (17:21)
3. Approximate (13:35)
4. Big Swifty (11:49)

Disc Two
1. Ulterior Motive (3:19)
2. The Adventures of Greggery Peccary (32:37)
3. Penis Dimension (3:35)
4. Variant I Processional March (3:28)

Total Time 96:03


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / guitar and white stick with cork handle
- Tony Duran / slide guitar
- Ian Underwood / piano and synthesizer
- Dave Parlato / bass
- Jerry Kessler / electric cello
- Jim Gordon / drums
- Mike Altshul / piccolo, bass clarinet, and other winds
- Jay Migliori / flute, tenor sax, and other winds
- Earl Dulmer / oboe, contrabass, sarrusophone and other winds
- Ray Reed / clarinet, tenor sax and other winds
- Charles Owens / soprano sax, alto sax and other winds
- Joann McNab / bassoon
- Malcolm McNab / trumpet in D
- Sal Marquez / trumpet in Bb
- Tom Malone / trumpet in Bb, also tuba
- Glen Ferris / trombone and euphonium
- Kenny Shroyer / trombone and baritone horn
- Bruce Fowler / trombone of the upper atmosphere
- Tom Raney / vibes and electric percussion
- Ruth Underwood / marimba and electric percussion


Releases information

New Release from zappa.com. Long awaited live recording of the Grand Wazoo big band in Boston on the last night of an 8-night tour. Catalog number VR 2007-2

Thanks to Andreas G for the addition
and to Evolver for the last updates
Edit this entry

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FRANK ZAPPA Wazoo ratings distribution


3.96
(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
38%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
51%
Good, but non-essential (9%)
9%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

FRANK ZAPPA Wazoo reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wazoo is a live album release by American experimental rock artist Frank Zappa. Itīs a 2 CD release with a total playing time of 96:03 minutes. The album was recorded on the 24th of September, 1972 at the Music Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The album was recorded on the last night of the Grand Wazoo 8-night big band tour. The band consisted of 20 people including Frank Zappa himself on guitar. Frank Zappa also conducted the band. In addition to the more ordinary rock instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums and keyboards ( and of course vibes, marimba and assorted percussion which are a Frank Zappa trademark) the real attraction on this live album are the addition of a brass and a wind section.

The music on Wazoo is a mix of Jazz rock/ Fusion and avant garde classical. A few of the songs are taken from the two jazz/ rock albums Waka/Jawaka (1972) and The Grand Wazoo (1972) which were the most recent releases by Frank Zappa at the time, but we also get an instrumental 32:37 minute long version of The Adventures of Greggery Peccary ( which was unreleased at the time) and also a great version of Approximate ( and a few other shorter songs). The music is fully instrumental except for Frank Zappaīs always entertaining comments between and sometimes in songs. I especially enjoy his explanation of how Approximate is meant to be played ( only rythms. All notes are improvised). While there are lots of structured sections in the songs, the album also features lengthy improvised sections with various members of the band soloing. A real treat and fortunately the soloing is never overdone. The improvisations lasts just the right amount of time to never get boring. The musicianship on the album is outstanding. But thatīs no surprise if youīre familiar with Frank Zappaīs high standards and demanding nature ( he was notoriously known for being very demanding during rehearsals).

The production is warm and itīs nice to hear a live album with absolutely no overdubs ( Well thatīs how it sounds anyway). The album has got a real live feel to it.

Wazoo is an excellent addition to my collection and while I do feel some of the more experimental classical parts exhaust me a bit, itīs hard not to be very impressed by the high level of musicianship and the great jazz/ rock groove that is a big part of the sound too. A 4 star rating is deserved, but I fully understand those that feel this is a 5 star masterpiece. However you want to rate the album itīs a much anticipated archive release for the fans of Frank Zappa but certainly not exclusively of interest to the fans.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#265188) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars All fully-fledged Zappaphiles will be happy with this release, and the same goes for lovers of imaginative 1970s jazz-rock who may have doubts about Zappa's taste in lyrics writing.

This music is fully instrumental. Disc 1 uses themes and riffs from THE GRAND WAZOO and WAKA/JAWAKA as a base for a free-style blowing-session (as I suppose such events are called). This music is at its most enjoyable when some of Zappa's more unusual instrumentalists take over. I particularly enjoyed Bruce Fowler (trombone) and Mike Altshul's (bass clarinet) turns in the spotlight. Zappa himself sounds subtle (and never too long!) on electric guitar, but perhaps the true star of Disc 1 is Ian Underwood, who comes up with several highly idiosyncratic synth solos. Hell, I'll warmly recommend this album for Underwood's playing alone! (Much to my regret, there are no noteworthy solos by Ruth Underwood on vibes.)

All in all, I can't get rid of the idea Zappa's band were mainly warming up for the glorious music you will find on Disc 2. This contains a full half-hour version of "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary", a piece which was hitherto only familiar to me in the studio version (with ludicrous vocals) that can be found on LATHER. Believe me, this orchestral suite is about ten times more impressive without any words. The music ranges from carnavalesque, Mingus-style jazz to cabaret (via classical avant-garde) but the avant- garde does not grate. Indeed, among all the joyful orchestral mayhem there are some highly lyrical solos by Earl Dumler on oboe (at least I assume it's an oboe) and Jeremy Kessler on electric cello. Both of those took my breath away.

It's well known Zappa grew to be mistrustful of musicians; this seems to be one of the main reasons why, toward the end of his life, he recorded more and more music on synclavier. WAZOO, though, clearly shows that he could achieve marvellous things with a proper band. I find it almost unbelievable that this music languished in the vaults for 35 years. The fully instrumental "Greggery Peccary", in its varied moods, strongly reminds me of the multi-coloured "Petrushka". It seems more appropriate than ever to call Zappa "a late-twentieth century Stravinsky".

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Send comments to fuxi (BETA) | Report this review (#285309) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 06, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
5 stars Wazoo? Wahoo!

It was about time the Zappa Family Trust released this amazing album. Fans had neeb requesting this material for years.

The album features the final performance of Frank Zappa's largest touring band, playing music from "Waka Jawaka" and "The Grand Wazoo", plus other grand big band pieces. The most impressive aspect of the album is just how tight the band was in playing these incredibly difficult pieces.

The Grand Wazoo (Think It Over) and Big Swifty are both used as frames for incredible solos by this group, that included Bruce Fowler, Sal Marquez, Mike Altshul and Malcolm McNabb, among others. Approximate fills out the first disk, a piece, due to it's open nature, was different every time it was played (the rhythm was written, the musicians were given a choice of notes to play).

The real gem is The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary. The piece here is all instrumental, stretched out with additional material to over a half an hour, and even better than the studio recording.

The concert ends with an orchestral Penis Dimension, which leads into Variant I Processional March, which is actually an early version of Regyptian Strut.

It's nice to know that so long after Zappa's untimely death, his family still has such masterpieces in the vault. Let's hope that there is still more.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#458007) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Review by HolyMoly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams
3 stars This is Frank Zappa as a big band bandleader. In 1972, while still in a wheelchair from an incident in 1971 where a crazed fan knocked him off a high stage (thus ending the Mothers; this was just a week after the infamous "Smoke on the Water" incident too, at Montreux), Zappa returned to the jazz fusion territory of his 1969 solo album "Hot Rats" and put together some new music scored for a large scale band. Some of this material ended up on the studio album "The Grand Wazoo". But a brief tour with the expanded ensemble was also undertaken, and in 2007 we were able to hear one of these shows for the very first time (unless you were there, of course, or had a bootleg. It was certainly my first time hearing it).

Zappa was no stranger to scoring music for large ensembles. He had already done so for the prior year's "200 Motels" feature film, for a symphony orchestra and choir, and in fact his earliest composing as a teenager had been for orchestral music rather than rock music. So Frank knew what he was doing. If not for the outlandish expense of these shows, who knows, he might have taken it even further. Indeed, I sometimes think that his later pared down rock ensembles were approached by Frank somewhat cynically, as if he were thinking, "well, the shallow kids of America love rock music with a good beat, so I'll disguise my complex music in rock and roll clothing and maybe they'll buy it." He once said in his book that he wouldn't have even bothered to write lyrics for his songs if he didn't believe that rock music fans need lyrics or it goes too far over their heads. Gee thanks, Frank. At least we have this album, a fully instrumental effort that manages to be rocking, intricate, complex, accessible and fun all at the same time. Because he cared enough about instrumental music to make it interesting even without lyrics. I'll take that over "Dirty Love" any day.

Hardcore fans will note the presence of "Greggary Peccary". This version does not have the spirited storytelling but is rather a fully instrumental early reading of the musical themes (and some inspired improvisational sections) that resembles the final version but is by no means the same exact piece. "Variant I Processional March" is an early version of the piece later known as "Re-Gyptian Strut". "Think it Over (The Grand Wazoo)" and "Big Swifty" appeared on the studio albums "The Grand Wazoo" and "Waka/Jawaka", respectively. "Approximate" did not appear on any studio albums, but it was made for stage performance, and was performed frequently by his later rock band lineups. In the piece, each player's rhythm is written out, but the notes are not -- the player can play whatever note they want, so long as they adhere strictly to the (insanely complicated, it turns out) rhythm. It's a lot of fun. And it has a jam section in the middle to reward you with some good old fashioned solos.

In all, this makes for a great archival live release, from a unique period in Zappa's performing history - Zappa not as rock band leader, but more as the conductor of a rockin' jazz orchestra. As great as it is to have a document like this, after the initial thrill wears off,. the seams eventually start to show: the technical difficulties in mic'ing all the instruments properly, the occasionally directionless improvisations, the imperfect execution. For fans of Zappa who love his jazz-oriented material (like me), this is a wonderful release that adds another piece to the "conceptual continuity" that is the Zappa oeuvre. I'll give it a solid 3/5, leaning towards 4.

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Send comments to HolyMoly (BETA) | Report this review (#747336) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is the long-awaited live recording of the Grand Wazoo band. In 1972 Zappa assembled a big band comprised of some of the top LA area jazz musiciansl. This band recorded 2 studio albums - Waka Jawaka & Grand Wazoo. This is as close as Zappa got to jazz. "Grand Wazoo", in particular, is a mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#153642) | Posted by Andreas G | Sunday, December 02, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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