Forum Home Forum Home > Progressive Music Lounges > Prog Recommendations/Featured albums
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Frank Zappa: Hot Rats
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Frank Zappa: Hot Rats

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
SteveG View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 11 2014
Location: Brexit Empire
Status: Offline
Points: 9599
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Frank Zappa: Hot Rats
    Posted: October 10 2018 at 04:24
An entry level accessible Zappa  album or a jazz rock pioneer?
Back to Top
irrelevant View Drop Down
Collaborator
Collaborator
Avatar
Post/Math Rock Team

Joined: March 07 2010
Location: Australia
Status: Offline
Points: 12479
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote irrelevant Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2018 at 06:21
I like Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo more, but Hot Rats is cool. Little Umbrellas is an underrated little tune. 

Hey, does the recent CD reissue on Zappa records sound better than the Rykodisc version? 
Back to Top
hellogoodbye View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar
VIP member

Joined: August 29 2011
Location: Troy
Status: Offline
Points: 7028
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hellogoodbye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2018 at 06:37
The Zappa Records Cd or vinyl sound different. The last song " It must be a camel" sounds fantastic.
Back to Top
irrelevant View Drop Down
Collaborator
Collaborator
Avatar
Post/Math Rock Team

Joined: March 07 2010
Location: Australia
Status: Offline
Points: 12479
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote irrelevant Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2018 at 06:50
^ Worth a replacement buy? Been happy with the other ones so far. The mix on the Rykodisc CD sounds weird to me but I haven't heard much of the original LP mix. I'm hoping it'll give me a new appreciation of the album. 

Edited by irrelevant - October 10 2018 at 06:51
Back to Top
Fischman View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: July 21 2018
Location: Colorado, USA
Status: Offline
Points: 451
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fischman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2018 at 09:10
Originally posted by SteveG SteveG wrote:

An entry level accessible Zappa  album or a jazz rock pioneer?

Both.

And therein lies much of its brilliance.  It is accessible Zappa.  It is accessible fusion.  It is intricate music, but you need not be a proghead or fusion freak to appreciate it.  It is one of those rare albums that spans both worlds.  Zappa could be a full blown esoteric, or he could make for a wider audience and he could do either exceptionally well.  
Back to Top
SteveG View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 11 2014
Location: Brexit Empire
Status: Offline
Points: 9599
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2018 at 11:25
^ ClapClapClap
This message was brought to you by a proud supporter of the Deep State.
Back to Top
dwill123 View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: December 19 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 2440
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dwill123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2018 at 16:20

"Hot Rats" contains one of Frank's best studio guitar solos, "Willie the Pimp".

Back to Top
The.Crimson.King View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: March 29 2013
Location: WA
Status: Offline
Points: 4367
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The.Crimson.King Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 11 2018 at 13:17
I have over 40 FZ albums, but have never liked Hot Rats...
Back to Top
ForestFriend View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: February 23 2017
Location: Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 320
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ForestFriend Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 11 2018 at 15:59
I don't think I'd say it's my favorite Zappa albums, but still very good. The composed pieces are really great, but I'm not a big fan of The Gumbo Variations - just too much jamming for me.


Edited by ForestFriend - October 11 2018 at 15:59
Back to Top
Frenetic Zetetic View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: December 09 2017
Location: New Hampshire
Status: Offline
Points: 2253
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 11 2018 at 16:20
Originally posted by irrelevant irrelevant wrote:

I like Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo more, but Hot Rats is cool. Little Umbrellas is an underrated little tune.

Same, and exactly. I also agree with whomever said it has some of his best guitar solos. Willie The Pimp!

I also feel it was early jazz rock at its finest.
Jazz fusion all day, baby.
Back to Top
HackettFan View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: June 20 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Status: Offline
Points: 5912
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 11 2018 at 22:32
Originally posted by ForestFriend ForestFriend wrote:

I don't think I'd say it's my favorite Zappa albums, but still very good. The composed pieces are really great, but I'm not a big fan of The Gumbo Variations - just too much jamming for me.

I don't see how you can take up the question of its status as pioneering Jazz-Rock and only like the composed pieces. If there's a Jazz element, there's going to be an improvisation element. Anyway, Gumbo Variations is neither free form Jazz nor free wheeling Rock. It's very highly structured, as are most of Zappa's improv's really, Jazz or not.
A curse upon the heads of those who seek their fortunes in a lie. The truth is always waiting when there's nothing left to try. - Colin Henson, Jade Warrior (Now)
Back to Top
hieronymous View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: December 27 2012
Location: Oakland, CA
Status: Offline
Points: 272
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hieronymous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2018 at 12:37
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

I don't see how you can take up the question of its status as pioneering Jazz-Rock and only like the composed pieces. If there's a Jazz element, there's going to be an improvisation element. Anyway, Gumbo Variations is neither free form Jazz nor free wheeling Rock. It's very highly structured, as are most of Zappa's improv's really, Jazz or not.

The relationship between composition and improvisation is a fascinating aspect of Zappa's music. Some pieces are completely composed, sometimes he would improvise something and then turn that into a compositional element. One example being a solo in "Big Swifty" (I think that's the track - something from Waka/Jawaka) - Zappa improvised a solo, then the trumpet player notated it and overdubbed horns to play it in unison. Or "The Dangerous Kitchen" from The Man From Utopia, where Steve Vai transcribed a half-spoken/half-sung vocal piece (improvised?). Xenochrony is another example where he takes recorded improvisations and overlays them on each other. Maybe one way to look at it is manipulation of improvised material so that it becomes "composed" in a way - different than the "spontaneous improvisation" of Can for example. 

I personally think that Gumbo Variations is very improvised - not structured in the same way as "Peaches En Regalia" for example. "Son of Mr. Green Genes" is a great example of a combination of the two - composed piece with jamming solos in the middle, then back to the composition at the end - kind of standard in a way but nice - and kind of "jazz" in the sense of how traditional jazz pieces are often structured (head/improvised solos/head) even if it doesn't sound "jazz" in the sense of swing/instrumentation/etc.

Or as the master himself said - "Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny!"
Back to Top
HackettFan View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: June 20 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Status: Offline
Points: 5912
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 12 2018 at 21:31
Originally posted by hieronymous hieronymous wrote:

Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

I don't see how you can take up the question of its status as pioneering Jazz-Rock and only like the composed pieces. If there's a Jazz element, there's going to be an improvisation element. Anyway, Gumbo Variations is neither free form Jazz nor free wheeling Rock. It's very highly structured, as are most of Zappa's improv's really, Jazz or not.


The relationship between composition and improvisation is a fascinating aspect of Zappa's music. Some pieces are completely composed, sometimes he would improvise something and then turn that into a compositional element. One example being a solo in "Big Swifty" (I think that's the track - something from Waka/Jawaka) - Zappa improvised a solo, then the trumpet player notated it and overdubbed horns to play it in unison. Or "The Dangerous Kitchen" from The Man From Utopia, where Steve Vai transcribed a half-spoken/half-sung vocal piece (improvised?). Xenochrony is another example where he takes recorded improvisations and overlays them on each other. Maybe one way to look at it is manipulation of improvised material so that it becomes "composed" in a way - different than the "spontaneous improvisation" of Can for example. 

I personally think that Gumbo Variations is very improvised - not structured in the same way as "Peaches En Regalia" for example. "Son of Mr. Green Genes" is a great example of a combination of the two - composed piece with jamming solos in the middle, then back to the composition at the end - kind of standard in a way but nice - and kind of "jazz" in the sense of how traditional jazz pieces are often structured (head/improvised solos/head) even if it doesn't sound "jazz" in the sense of swing/instrumentation/etc.

Or as the master himself said - "Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny!"

Right on indeed for so much here. I'd like to just point out that 'structured' and 'composed' are not the same thing. Composing is a pre-planning sort of thing. Structuring music, however can happen on the fly. Jazz improvisation is typically very highly structured. Jazz improvs, traditionally at least, closely follow chords as they develop within a progression. In other words, what counts as a "good" note depends on what the current chord is, what is referred to as chord tone soloing. This a special challenge to the Jazz soloist to attend to exactly when any particular chord changes and know instantly how to adjust note selection. This is not how Rock and Blues traditionally work. This is at least in one part a type of structure I'm referring to. Gumbo Variations, to my ear, uses standard chord tone soloing. Later Zappa improvs frequently follow a Modal Jazz approach, an innovation in Jazz that incidentally brings it closer in approach to Blues and Rock. Also, the lead work in Gumbo Variations interacts constructively with the drumming aspect of the rhythm. The drumming develops through many different, dare I say, variations throughout the piece and the guitar lead finds a variety of ways to be responsive to it.



Edited by HackettFan - October 12 2018 at 21:34
A curse upon the heads of those who seek their fortunes in a lie. The truth is always waiting when there's nothing left to try. - Colin Henson, Jade Warrior (Now)
Back to Top
micky View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: October 02 2005
Location: .
Status: Offline
Points: 42862
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2018 at 07:03
Originally posted by dwill123 dwill123 wrote:

"Hot Rats" contains one of Frank's best studio guitar solos, "Willie the Pimp".


yes sir...  Willie the Pimp sits at #5 on my list of blow thy speaker songs ever...
The Diet Coke of Evil....
Back to Top
SteveG View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: April 11 2014
Location: Brexit Empire
Status: Offline
Points: 9599
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2018 at 07:51
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:


 
Right on indeed for so much here. I'd like to just point out that 'structured' and 'composed' are not the same thing. Composing is a pre-planning sort of thing. Structuring music, however can happen on the fly. Jazz improvisation is typically very highly structured. Jazz improvs, traditionally at least, closely follow chords as they develop within a progression. In other words, what counts as a "good" note depends on what the current chord is, what is referred to as chord tone soloing. This a special challenge to the Jazz soloist to attend to exactly when any particular chord changes and know instantly how to adjust note selection. This is not how Rock and Blues traditionally work. This is at least in one part a type of structure I'm referring to. Gumbo Variations, to my ear, uses standard chord tone soloing. Later Zappa improvs frequently follow a Modal Jazz approach, an innovation in Jazz that incidentally brings it closer in approach to Blues and Rock. Also, the lead work in Gumbo Variations interacts constructively with the drumming aspect of the rhythm. The drumming develops through many different, dare I say, variations throughout the piece and the guitar lead finds a variety of ways to be responsive to it.

This is fascinating and probably why this music is both improvisational while being accessible.

Edited by SteveG - October 13 2018 at 07:51
This message was brought to you by a proud supporter of the Deep State.
Back to Top
HackettFan View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: June 20 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Status: Offline
Points: 5912
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2018 at 09:29
Originally posted by SteveG SteveG wrote:

Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:


 
Right on indeed for so much here. I'd like to just point out that 'structured' and 'composed' are not the same thing. Composing is a pre-planning sort of thing. Structuring music, however can happen on the fly. Jazz improvisation is typically very highly structured. Jazz improvs, traditionally at least, closely follow chords as they develop within a progression. In other words, what counts as a "good" note depends on what the current chord is, what is referred to as chord tone soloing. This a special challenge to the Jazz soloist to attend to exactly when any particular chord changes and know instantly how to adjust note selection. This is not how Rock and Blues traditionally work. This is at least in one part a type of structure I'm referring to. Gumbo Variations, to my ear, uses standard chord tone soloing. Later Zappa improvs frequently follow a Modal Jazz approach, an innovation in Jazz that incidentally brings it closer in approach to Blues and Rock. Also, the lead work in Gumbo Variations interacts constructively with the drumming aspect of the rhythm. The drumming develops through many different, dare I say, variations throughout the piece and the guitar lead finds a variety of ways to be responsive to it.

This is fascinating and probably why this music is both improvisational while being accessible.
It is such an interesting creative period. We take Jazz Fusion for granted today, but back then nobody really knew how to do it and were largely imagining what it would be like. Different musicians came up with different answers. Miles Davis, for instance, simply used very Jazz improvs over Rock oriented drumming. Some tilted more to the Jazz side. Some tilted more to the Rock side. Zappa was the only early example of Jazz-Rock that was really pretty evenhanded on both the Jazz and Rock dimensions, and therefore maybe the most successful. If you listen to the other albums in Zappa's Jazz period, he's still probing alternative ways of approaching fusion. They're not all the same.



Edited by HackettFan - October 13 2018 at 09:29
A curse upon the heads of those who seek their fortunes in a lie. The truth is always waiting when there's nothing left to try. - Colin Henson, Jade Warrior (Now)
Back to Top
hieronymous View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: December 27 2012
Location: Oakland, CA
Status: Offline
Points: 272
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hieronymous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2018 at 12:31
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

Right on indeed for so much here. I'd like to just point out that 'structured' and 'composed' are not the same thing. Composing is a pre-planning sort of thing. Structuring music, however can happen on the fly. Jazz improvisation is typically very highly structured. Jazz improvs, traditionally at least, closely follow chords as they develop within a progression. In other words, what counts as a "good" note depends on what the current chord is, what is referred to as chord tone soloing. This a special challenge to the Jazz soloist to attend to exactly when any particular chord changes and know instantly how to adjust note selection. This is not how Rock and Blues traditionally work. This is at least in one part a type of structure I'm referring to. Gumbo Variations, to my ear, uses standard chord tone soloing. Later Zappa improvs frequently follow a Modal Jazz approach, an innovation in Jazz that incidentally brings it closer in approach to Blues and Rock. Also, the lead work in Gumbo Variations interacts constructively with the drumming aspect of the rhythm. The drumming develops through many different, dare I say, variations throughout the piece and the guitar lead finds a variety of ways to be responsive to it.


Interesting insight about the relationship between "structured" and "composed" - maybe structure could be the variable on the continuum between composed & improvised. Completely composed versus completely free improv would be the extreme ends, with compositions that leave room for improv (blues, etc.) and more structured improv (traditional jazz) somewhere in the middle. 

Also wanted to add - Max Bennett, the bassist on all tracks on Hot Rats except Peaches En Regalia, passed away in September. I am a bassist and love his playing on this album. I started playing along with the album for the first time this past year (though I've been listening to it since the '80s) and the bass playing is really stellar. He was in the Wrecking Crew and played with LA Express, including on several Joni Mitchell albums.

Here are a couple of quotes:

On a musical blind date with Frank Zappa, Bennett was the principal bassist on the latter’s 1969 album Hot Rats. "I knew his name," Bennett recalled in 2007, “but not much else. The sessions went very well and he wanted me to join his band. I just couldn’t give up my studio work, though.”https://jazztimes.com/news/bassist-max-bennett-dies-at-90/

Fans of more radical music may recognize him as the primary bassist on Frank Zappa’s classic Hot Rats album. 
“I was not familiar with Zappa’s music. Our paths never crossed,” Bennett told The Observer. 
“I was never a big fan of avant garde music in that sense. It was while I was working in the studio, what was it, 1967, I think? And I got a call from John Guerin. He said, ‘Get your stuff over to TTG’—that was in Hollywood—‘I got a double session for you with Frank Zappa.’ So we get there and we worked two double sessions for two nights. And that was the album, that was ‘Hot Rats.’”http://jazznewsyoucanuse.com/2018/09/in-memoriam-max-bennett-2/




Edited by hieronymous - October 18 2018 at 12:32
Back to Top
hieronymous View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: December 27 2012
Location: Oakland, CA
Status: Offline
Points: 272
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hieronymous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 19 2018 at 11:02
I could be wrong about the structure thing though - perhaps it is just another axis? I'm thinking of some of the "20th Century Classical" stuff where there may be structure but within each section the playing is improvised - think John Cage, Terry Riley, etc. It's potentially important though because of the influence of 20th Century Classical on Zappa.
Back to Top
dr wu23 View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: August 22 2010
Location: Indiana
Status: Offline
Points: 11007
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 19 2018 at 15:01
If I could only keep one Zappa it would be the one.
The first album by him (or the Mothers) that really stuck with me...we played this one constantly in college and usually when in an altered state.
One does nothing yet nothing is left undone.
Haquin
Back to Top
HackettFan View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: June 20 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Status: Offline
Points: 5912
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 19 2018 at 21:43
Originally posted by hieronymous hieronymous wrote:

I could be wrong about the structure thing though - perhaps it is just another axis? I'm thinking of some of the "20th Century Classical" stuff where there may be structure but within each section the playing is improvised - think John Cage, Terry Riley, etc. It's potentially important though because of the influence of 20th Century Classical on Zappa.
Yeah, I think of music being composed as unrelated to structure. Composing is a way of creating music without being constrained by the time factor governing the playing of it and as a means for encompassing all instruments comprehensively rather than contributing as a player of just one. Jazz improvisation is all about structure. Jazz players learn structure on a very deep level in order to begin to handle the more flexible aspects of Jazz standards (e.g. chord substitutions or extensions and such). To me, one might. better place 'structure' in opposition with noodling. I surely do have a greater tolerance for guitar noodling than many others due to my sheer love of the instrument, related to my background as a player. However, when some listeners fail to perceive structure in Zappa's improvs, clearly I and they will not agree on what exemplifies noodling. Now, if one were to seek an example of noodling that is an absolute waste of time, I would put forward side one of the first Ash Ra Temple album as exhibit A.
A curse upon the heads of those who seek their fortunes in a lie. The truth is always waiting when there's nothing left to try. - Colin Henson, Jade Warrior (Now)
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.01
Copyright ©2001-2014 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.363 seconds.