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Frank Zappa - Does Humor Belong In Music? CD (album) cover

DOES HUMOR BELONG IN MUSIC?

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.57 | 80 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Does Humor Belong In Music?' - Frank Zappa (6/10)

In Frank Zappa's case, the answer is No. However, that doesn't stop him or his band from playing a great performance on his live album 'Does Humor Belong In Music?'. Touring for the less-than-satisfying 'Them Or Us' album, I did not have high expectations for this recording considering my weak enjoyment of the man's studio recordings, but in front of an audience, Zappa and his band's greatest strength is made quite clear. Seeing Zappa Plays Zappa a couple of years back, the dynamic musicianship of the musicians is what really made the performance so good, disregarding what I felt was emotionally shallow composition and lyrical themes. With 'Does Humour Belong In Music?', Zappa and his comrades do a very good performance of the music, although I fear that the compositions and songwriting here will never open up to me.

Much of the music here is a pretty straightforward rendition of the music heard on studio albums, although the live setting of the music does give a stronger, more dynamic feeling to the way the music is played and performed. Not being a Zappa fan by any regards, I cannot necessarily compare these tracks in detail to the originals, but it does feel like each track here benefits greatly from the setting; each musician sounds as if they are really enjoying the performance, and the musicians will often play off one another during the longer drawn-out jam sections; an effect that cannot be recreated in most studio settings.

Of course, Zappa's voice here doesn't strike me as being anything good or great, but this is not a problem exclusive to this one live album. I still find the compositions generally very upbeat and somewhat too peppy to elicit an emotional response for me. The sections in which the band breaks down into jazz improvisation is the best 'Does Humour Belong In Music?' has to offer. There's little here that really surprises me, and Zappa's bad attempts at comedy are still here in full, but the performance is what saves this record.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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