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Dweezil Zappa - Via Zammata CD (album) cover


Dweezil Zappa


Crossover Prog

3.82 | 14 ratings

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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Nearly a decade ago, Dweezil Zappa put aside his own music to concentrate on the admirable task of keeping his father's considerable catalog of music alive for the public to hear in performance. Over the years I have seen the Zappa plays Zappa band many times over the years, and have witness them discovering the nuances and "eyebrows" that made Frank's concerts so special, to the point where at times, the son has equaled (or even surpassed) the father with some songs.

It delighted me when I discovered that Dweezil was working on a new album, and happily contributed to the online funding site for it. And it certainly paid off well.

Dweezil used his ZPZ musicians as the core group for this album, so the technical ability is top notch.

Anyone expecting this to be a clone of Frank's work may come away disappointed. Although Dweezil uses many of the techniques his dad employed to embellish and energize his music, he definitely has his own unique personal vision and style. The only track that sounds like it could have come from an FZ album is the opener, Funky 15, which has the feel of the type of song Frank would use to open a show, with a reasonable simple vamp, with tight instrumental orchestration and a wide space for a guitar solo.

And while I'm writing about guitar solos, Dweezil appears to be purposefully avoiding the FZ guitar sounds and riff that he masters so well with ZPZ, using his own musical voice, which often sounds to me like a blend of Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen (not surprisingly, as Dweezil has learned from both of those masters).

The majority of the compositions are in a power pop style, with his band providing a dense and sometimes complex landscape for Dweezil to sing over. Dweezil's lyrics are very enjoyable as well. They are humorous and clever, while mostly avoiding the dark cynicism that permeated his father's work.

Especially notable are Dragon Master, a metal track, with lyrics credited to Frank, that sounds like a catalog of modern metal clichés played to extreme (a parody, I suspect, by both the lyrics and the music), and Malkovich featuring a reading by the titled guest artist, and an ingenious refrain.

I'm not sure if this album is better than Dweezil's 2006 album, "Go With What You Know", but is sure is fun to listen to.

Evolver | 4/5 |


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