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Frank Zappa Make a Jazz Noise Here album cover
4.41 | 179 ratings | 12 reviews | 52% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (72:01)
1. Stinkfoot (7:40)
2. When Yuppies Go to Hell (14:36)
3. Fire and Chains (3:57)
4. Let's Make the Water Turn Black (1:36)
5. Harry, You're a Beast (0:47)
6. The Orange County Lumber Truck (0:42)
7. Oh No (4:43)
8. Theme from Lumpy Gravy (1:12)
9. Eat That Question (1:55)
10. Black Napkins (6:56)
11. Big Swifty (11:13)
12. King Kong (13:11)
13. Stars Won't Work (3:33)

CD 2 (66:34)
1. The Black Page (New Age version) (6:45)
2. T'Mershi Duween (1:42)
3. Dupree's Paradise (8:35)
4. City of Tiny Lights (8:01)
5. Royal March from L'histoire du soldat (1:00)
6. Theme from the Bartok Piano Concerto #3 (3:43)
7. Sinister Footwear 2nd Mov. (6:19)
8. Stevie's Spanking (4:26)
9. Alien Orifice (4:15)
10. Cruisin' for Burgers (8:28)
11. Advance Romance (7:43)
12. Strictly Genteel (5:37)

Total Time 138:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / lead guitar, synth, vocals
- Ike Willis / rhythm guitar, synth, vocals
- Mike Keneally / rhythm guitar, synth, vocals
- Bobby Martin / keyboards, vocals
- Ed Mann / vibes, marimba, electronic percussion
- Walt Fowler / trumpet, flugelhorn, synth
- Bruce Fowler / trombone
- Paul Carman / alto, soprano & baritone saxophones
- Albert Wing / tenor saxophone
- Kurt McGettrick / baritone saxophone, contrabass clarinet
- Scott Thunes / electric bass, Minimoog
- Chad Wackerman / drums, electronic percussion

Releases information

Rykodisc #RCD 10555/56

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Buy FRANK ZAPPA Make a Jazz Noise Here Music

FRANK ZAPPA Make a Jazz Noise Here ratings distribution

(179 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(52%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (8%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

FRANK ZAPPA Make a Jazz Noise Here reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another live album from the '88 world tour, Zappa really pulls out all the stops with this record, which is overshadowed if you ask me by its counterpart record in The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life. What makes this album different from that album is that the setlist here is completely different, and the entire show has a completely different feel than that album does. Here there is a feeling of improvisation and an overall jazzy edge (hence the album title most likely), unlike The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life, which had a more jokey and silly atmosphere (reggae Stairway to Heaven says it all).

This album is filled with classic Zappa tunes, and is also one of the only albums that features a live song from The Grand Wazoo, I speak of Eat that Question, which unfortunately doesn't get a full rendition, but the brief snippet of that song here is a real treat. Black Napkins is great as always and Zappa really plays his heart out here. Some of the newer pieces are pretty interesting. Songs like Fire and Chains and When Yuppies Go to Hell are interesting quasi-instrumental compositions that explore various abilities of the band and have a really laid-back feel to them. King Kong and Big Swifty also get some pretty stellar workouts here as well. And all that's only in the first disc.

The second disc has some more modern Zappa pieces, like Stevie's Spanking and Alien Orifice, but he always seems to be able to pull out an older song, here it is Cruising for Burgers (which unlike the live counterpart in Zappa In New York, contains the vocals) and a rousing performance of Strictly Genteel. In all, the second disc will captivate as much as the first disc, although some of the pieces in the middle don't have the punch that most of the album contains.

Overall, I recommend this album over The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life simply because I feel it has a better setlist and it explores more of Zappa's laid back and relaxed side. I won't discredit The Best Band... though because that album is also stellar. If you like Zappa's older pieces and more jazzy works, then this will also be right up your alley. No masterpiece, but not far from that coveted position.

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars And what a noise it was.

Make A Jazz Noise Here is another two disc live set from Zappa's '88 touring band. This makes a perfect companion to The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life CD also from the '88 band, as this one focuses more on the instrumental/serious side of Frank's music (and probably no surprise the jazzier side). This of course is just a conveinent piegonhole. There is plenty of musical things happening here, filled with that typical Zappa humor and trademark sound. Because of this there should be something here for all types of Zappa fans. (As a side note, its hard to choose better this one and The Best which is better, so the smart thing to do is get both, but if you perfer the jazzier/instrumental stuffs get this one first, and if you perfer the rockier/direct humor stuff get The Best Band...first). Needless to say, this is played to perfection as Zappa never messed around with musicians and knew how to choose some of the best in the buisness.

There are many moments that make this album a must have. However, I will only highlight a few. First and foremost, When Yuppies Go To Hell. No question about it, this song goes in my list of top songs of all time. Thoughout the near 13 and a half minuets, much ground is cover, grooved based jazz-rock, experimental zaniness, a drum solo, free jazz, and bizarre sounds thrown together to make a psuedo melody. Sounds like Zappa at his finest eh? Secondly, the suite from Lets Make The Water Turn Black to Eat That Question. Absolutely amazing arrangements of some Zappa classics. The horns, the percussion, the guitar...everything is in the right place. This is capped by perhaps the finest moment to come out of the '88 abbreivated Eat The Question. It is sad to see that it is shortened, but they certainly make the most out of it. (The baritone sax can shake the Earth when played at a loud volume) These two moments above alone, make this necessary. But there are more! City Of Tiny Lights. A rip-roaring version is presented here with a great guitar solo from the man. Royal March From L'Histoire Du Soldat and Theme From The Bartok Piano Concerto #3 are two short little covers. It is interesting and fun to hear these tunes arranged for a big-band jazz-rock performance (and I imagine it would be more so for people who are more familar with these works). Strickly Genteel ends the set, and while not being my favorite version of the song, is a great way to end the CD and certainly fits the best on this '88 band record. It also must be noted that even though I picked about five songs to highlight it is really hard to pick a bad moment on either disk (though I do perfer disk one as there are flatter spots on disk two, but nothing too deflating). From King Kong, to Dupree's Paradise, to Crusin' For Burgers...these songs are enjoyable, expertly arranged, well played, and always fun to hear.

All in all, this is one of the best live albums to come out of the Zappa's catalogue. I believe this has something for everyone and is one of Zappa's more progressive albums. While it wouldn't be the best place to start, once you've got the Zappa bug this one should be picked as soon as possible. 4.5 stars rounded up.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Don't be affraid - it's not only jazz there! One of the best ever Zappa's live album presents perfect mix of everything Zappa played in late eighties, and in the best form.Whenever there are big team of musicians ( incl. brass section) participated in concert, album's sound is often very rich and heavy orchestrated.

Even the main musical base is jazz-rock ( but again, in very different forms: from classic fusion a-la "Hot Rats", to free form long avant-jazz improves), there are plenty of other elements, filling all that musical space. Every different piece has it's own sound, from retro songs, sounding as classic movie sountrack, to heavy metal pieces ( with electric guitar solos), from brass- orchestrated almost pop-melodies to near modern classical music.

And what is very important - all this different music is connected very organically into one bright, interesting and never boring long show! Every listener will find some perfect moments for himself. But if you like later Zappa albums, jazz-fusion and avantgarde music, all the album is a gem!

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Back in the eighties, Frank Zappa would often play two shows in Boston when he toured. One show would feature the fun songs, the humorous pieces and the popular songs. The other show would feature the really fun songs, the complex compositions, to show aff in front of the Berklee School students. So it was a great thing for those of us who would get tickets to both shows.

That's the difference between this albun and "The Best Band You Never Saw In Your Life". Where as the other was fun (but marred by too much gloating over religious con-man Jimmy Swaggart's moral issues at the time), this album is just amazing.

Zappa's final tour featured an incredible lineup. He had five horn players (mostly the Fowler Brothers and their cohorts), which allowed the band to shift easily between rock, jazz and classical without a hiccup (maybe a burp or a fart, but not a hiccup).

There are some extended jams, with beautiful solos - sometimes slightly marred by the bizarre samples dropped in - but the focus is always on what this band could do. Black Napkins features the horn playing Frank's signature solo. Big Swifty and King Kong are both embellished (as Zappa does throughout) with quotes from other pieces.

There are even bits of Stravinsky and Bartok on the album.

I give this 4.5 out of five stars - rounded up.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars Not many (if any) performers could release three live albums from the same tour and not have any of them be redundant (or, if you will, have no overlapping material), but Frank Zappa wasn't most performers. Whereas Broadway focused on the political theater aspects of Zappa's 1988 shows, and Best Band gave the sense of a "real" concert, this release mostly features the more instrumental-driven material of that tour. Predictably, I don't love this one as much as I did Best Band, and to be honest, I'm not even necessarily sure that longtime fans of Zappa's instrumental stuff would go ga-ga for this. A lot of the keyboard effects that were used sparsely and to good effect on Best Band are used to create some incredibly ugly passages on this one, and they definitely worsen my feelings towards this. There are also a few other tracks that hadn't appeared on albums before, and they don't really do much to make an impression amongst the more familiar material. I mean, I don't hate "Fire and Chains," or "Star Wars Won't Work," or "Sinister Footwear 2nd mvt." (which was on Them or Us, but seems awfully close in spirit to those other two tracks, so I'm lumping it in with them), but they hardly give me reason to listen to them again.

Still, there's a lot of good material on here. One thing this album is good about is interspersing faithful renditions of old favorites with bizarre reinventions of, uh, other old favorites. In the more familiar territory, there's a great medley of "Let's Make the Water Turn Black," "Harry You're a Beast," "The Orange County Lumber Truck" and "Oh No," with an immediate segue into the main theme from Lumpy Gravy. The first four tracks in that list aren't done very differently from how they were on Ahead of Our Time (remember that one?), but then again that archive release wasn't yet available, so it would have been a major treat to have a rendition of these. Staying in familiar territory, the first disc also contains decent enough renditions of "Stinkfoot" (including the only serious political material of the album, in more references to the Jimmy Swaggart sex scandal), a shortened "Eat That Question" and "Black Napkins" (never really liked this, but it's ok here).

"Big Swifty" and "King Kong" round out the first disc (aside from some of the new pieces mentioned earlier), and they're anything but conventional. They have the same main themes as their original versions, yes, but their midsections veer all over the place, touching on all sorts of well-known and obscure jazz, classical and other melodies from the past. In other hands, things like the quote from "The 1812 Overture" would seem cliche and stupid, but this is Frank Zappa we're talking about; he'd earned plenty of right to do something like by this point. These versions would never replace the originals (and I say that as somebody who doesn't love them, though I like them more now than I did in my initial reviews), but they're nice supplements, and that's really what live albums are for.

The second disc, for all of its busy instrumental excitedness, falls a bit into background noise for me, but I basically like it. I only sorta like this version of "The Black Page," and the Stravinsky and Bartok quotes are too brief to satisfy me (and besides, the third piano concerto was the weakest), but the rest is nice. Without mentioning every other track, I'd say that "Dupree's Paradise" is much more satisfying here than in the 24-minute version on YCDTOSA Vol 2; the metallic power of "Stevie's Spanking" is a terrific change of pace from the jazzy aspects of the rest of the album; "Advance Romance" is just as great of a weird blues piece as ever, and "Strictly Genteel" is the perfect regal way to end the album.

For all the praises, though, there's a tedium to the album that didn't exist on Best Band, and except for a couple of stretches, there isn't a lot of fun on this album. Still, there's no good reason to own the first two releases of the tour but not this one.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars.This was from the same 1988 tour as the live album "The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life". In my opinion they make great companion records because the song list is completely different. And while both live album showcase the band's incredible viruosity instrumentally and humour at the same time, "Make A Jazz Noise here" puts more of a focus on the instrumental work while "The Best Band..." is more about the humour and features more well know Zappa classics hence it's popularity among fans. Both are like listening to Big Band Zappa with lots of guitar solos to boot, and no overdubs in sight.

Disc one begins with Zappa's announcement about Jimmy Swaggert's infidelities and particularily that he got caught and then he brings him up as well in this opening track "Stinkfoot". Great tune.

"When Yuppies Go To Hell" is an interesting track, kind of unique to my ears when it comes to Zappa music. Some weird vocal expressions too. It picks up with horns before 4 minutes. I should mention that these songs all blend into one another. "Fire And Chains" has a guitar solo 1 1/2 minutes in. "Let's Make The Water Turn Black" is a short but classic tune with the horns honking in that familiar melody. It blends into two short tracks in "Harry,Your A Beast" and "The Orange Countuy Lumber Truck".

Next is "Oh No" with vocals right away then we get a guitar led instrumental section followed by horns. "Theme From Lumpy Gravy" has some brief spoken words from Frank as the melody continues. "Eat That Question" kicks in around a minute.

"Black Napkins" is horn led early and is quite horny throughout actually. An impressive laid back tune. Piano around 5 minutes but the horns still lead. "Big Swifty" is such a great track and it picks up right away then Frank says "Make a jazz noise here" before 1 1/2 minutes.Yeah this is jazzy. A calm 4 minutes in with piano and some carrying on in the background. We get a bass and horn solo after 7 minutes followed by vocal expressions and more horns.

"King Kong" is horn led. Some funny spoken words after 5 minutes then the horns lead again after 7 1/2 minutes.

Disc two begins with "The Black Page" which again is all about the horns with the guitar taking over before 4 minutes. This continues into the next track then we get "Dupree's Paradise" my favourite off this recording.This sounds amazing and check out the trumpet solo which ends before 3 1/2 minutes to big applause. From here to the end is incredible.

"City Of Tiny Lights" is a vocal track with lots of horns. A guitar solo before 4 minutes then the vocals return. A couple of short tracks follow then "Sinister Footwear" kicks in and we get some great sounding bass horn of some sort followed by some excellent drum work before 4 minutes.

"Stevie's Spanking" has a heavy intro with guitar then vocals.The guitar solo before 2 minutes is brief but more of that after 4 minutes. "Alien Orifice" is guitar and horns.

"Cruisin' For Burgers" is a classic vocal track with a long guitar solo late. "Advance Romance" features horns, vocals and drums that standout. Funny lyrics here.The guitar starts to solo around 3 1/2 minutes until before 6 minutes then the vocals return. "Strictly Genteel" has lots of horns as usual and some vocal outbursts.

The instrumental work on this one is mind blowing and that certainly is the focus of this album. Fantastic !

Review by darkshade
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is one of Frank Zappa's best albums, period. The 1988 band was one of Frank's tightest groups, and they could play just about anything Frank desired them to. This album showcases the (mostly) instrumental side of the band (though I think the other 2 albums featuring this lineup have plenty of instrumental/complex stuff too) Most of the new songs from this tour were featured on Broadway the Hard Way, but there's a few on this album.

However, right off the bat we get to hear Frank speak, and the story of Ed Mann making a mistake in the song "Dickie's Such an Asshole" is humorous. Then we are thrown into unknown territory. "When Yuppies Go To Hell" is an original tune unique to this album, and combines jazz-fusion with electronic stuff and some Synclavier as well. A dense piece that took me a while to appreciate, but it gets better every time I hear it. Out of that we get Fire and Chains, another original tune, though this is mostly a guitar solo. The other original is Star Wars Won't Work, which is more of a goofy song.

The rest of the album consists of older material, but with rousing renditions due to the horns and the arrangements. This album focuses a lot on the big improv pieces, so tunes like Big Swifty, King Kong, and Dupree's Paradise go into all kinds of directions, so much that beyond the main themes, these are all new pieces (and Dupree's Paradise (along with T'Mershi Duween) never had an official release before this album, I believe.)

But seriously, the entire album is one big highlight. It's amazing how many 2 disc albums Frank made and released in the late 80s/early 90s and that hold my attention the entire time (which is most of them.)

This album is a top 5 Frank Zappa album, but should be checked out after you are familiar with a good chunk of Zappa's 60s and 70s albums first; mostly to understand how Frank modified the older tunes, but you could do a lot worse than making this one of your first Zappa albums, especially if you appreciate the horn-dominated, jazzier side of his music.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Review #174 "Make a jazz noise here" is an amazing recording from the same 1988 tour that gave us "The best band you never heard in your life" but this album is completely different from the other one: most (not all) of the songs on this record are instrumental versions that showed the skills ... (read more)

Report this review (#2652579) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Wednesday, December 15, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think the biggest appeal for this album for me is the fact that it is primarily instrumental. Having such a gigantic lineup of musicians certainly only helps the instrumental Zappa experience here. The Jazz element is quite strong, of course, but I would never call this a jazz or even jazz ro ... (read more)

Report this review (#168927) | Posted by infandous | Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Jazz Noise is a fascinating and unforgettable experience. The sound quality is excellent, even better than any studio album. Most of Zappa's repertoire has received plenty of modifications so that all of the songs would match in style. Even a Zappa know-it-all (who hasn't heard Jazz Noise yet) wo ... (read more)

Report this review (#82284) | Posted by Deliriumist | Friday, June 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Even better than The Best Band..., here the guys are closing the 80´s with a surprising powerfull band, with a wind section that worth a FIVE without doubt. The rest of the guys are workin´ hard to sound as good as ever, including Zappa, that is obviously inspired on guitar, in some stupid but ... (read more)

Report this review (#48402) | Posted by rguabiraba | Sunday, September 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Quite possibly one of the best Jazz Fusion Rock combo's ever to make it to recording status. Much more than that, this is actually live with no overdubs. This recording cooks from beginning to end. First of all, FZ opens up the fire with STINK FOOT. This really sets the pace for the whol ... (read more)

Report this review (#29721) | Posted by | Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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