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Frank Zappa - Imaginary Diseases CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.90 | 81 ratings

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5 stars Finally, the band line-up with no real official documentation as far as live recordings go, was finally released posthumously by Joe Travers. The news of this release had all the Zappaphiles salivating because of the rarity of official recordings of the band know as The Petit Wazoo Tour. This album is a collection of various live recordings done during that tour in 1972.

This is the one to get for the small version of the jazz band (consisting of 10 members-the compact version of The Grand Wazoo tour which consisted of 20 members). If you love jazz fusion, this is essential. It is completely instrumental except for some very short comments by Zappa, mostly instructions for the band or introduction of songs. This album is a jazz feast and also has many amazing guitar solos thrown in for good measure.

The first track is a strange avant-garde piece just over a minute long which I think is actually a snippet of a longer song. It involves some strange sounds and audience chanting. Not really sure why this is here as it doesn't really introduce anything or give any indication of what the rest of the album is like. The next track is "Rollo" which would later become the closing instrumental to the "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" suite that would later be released on the album "Apostrophe(')", but the interesting thing is that "Rollo" was left off of the album and up until the release of this album, was largely unheard on any recorded album by FZ. It is a short, yet ambitious piece, which here sounds like it was part of a larger performance. It's the third track that really gets things going for the rest of the album. "Been to Kansas City in A Minor" is a very nice jazz-blues track which goes on for 10 minutes. It starts out innocently enough but it picks up steam as it rolls along featuring some great solos with brass and woodwinds and culminating in a rip roaring guitar solo from FZ. At this point, you know what you are in for with the rest of the album.

Following this is a 16 minute track called "Farther O'Blivion". Note the spelling on this track. Remember that this tour was before the release of "Apostrophe(')" and this track has absolutely nothing to do with "Father O'blivion" (again notice the difference in spelling) from the "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" suite. It is an extended jam given the jazz treatment in this instance and contains hints of future Zappa classics. You can hear where "Gregory Peccary", "Be-Bop Tango", and "Cucamonga" come from. This is the highlight of the album and features solos extraordinaire throughout the piece. The 16 minutes fly by as themes change and styles vary throughout going from a swing section to a drum and tuba solo.

The next track is "D.C. Boogie" which starts out as a jazzy guitar solo at mid--tempo and eventually, Zappa takes a vote from the audience on how the songs should end, to which the audience demands it end with a Boogie. which he gladly obliges. You can hear hints of the guitar solo that would become the title track for the "Apostrophe (')" album. The title track comes next, and it has a basis of a funk groove which is the base for Zappa soloing at first which finally breaks into echoes of "The Gumbo Variations". The last track is "Montreal" which takes on a mid-tempo sound with more guitar soloing and some great backing by the band.

These tracks don't fall into the trap of some later FZ solos where the guitar is underplayed by an uninteresting backup. The band rolls right along with Frank through his solos and it sounds very full and jazzy throughout with the rock undertones of his guitar. This is a great collection of tracks from live show and it is an essential collection for those interested in the jazz music of Frank Zappa. It is one of the best posthumous released and features a lot of music unavailable officially anywhere else. Zappa fans will consider it a must have, but jazz fans should consider it essential also because it highlights Zappa's composition skills and musicianship, but also the talent of his band at the time. This is a 5 star collection all the way, just don't pay attention to that strange first track and you will agree.

TCat | 5/5 |


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