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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:13 pm 
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So I'd like to get familiar with Frank's serious music, though I'm not sure where to start. Is there one essential album for this or are they all equal in quality?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:15 am 
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Some would say it's all serious.
But I think this might be what you are looking for:
1. Lumpy Money - you'll get two masterpieces as well as an idea of his processes.
2. Uncle Meat - one of my favorite Zappa albums.
3. Burnt Weany Sandwich - you'll see further development of some themes
4. Hot Rats
5. the Grand Wazoo
6. Waka Jawaka
7. Studio Tan
8. Orchestral Favorites
9. LSO I & II
10. the Yellow Shark
11. Civilization Phaze III

I listed these in chronological order. They should be heard that way.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:55 am 
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I agree with the above. But I will add that there are some of his compositions that shouldn't be left out:

R&E: Echidna's Arf, Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?, Be-Bop Tango
TBBYNHIYL: Inca Roads, Zoot Allures, Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue
MAJNH: Black Page, Alien Orifice, Sinister Footwear II

Imaginary Diseases and Wazoo are also good.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:57 am 
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Mosh wrote:
where to start

The last few month I was listenning almost excluvely the LSO first album (Bob, Sad Jane, Mo & Herb's Vacation).

Try it: put Sad Jane in your player, and play it again and again: it goes into your memory, and every listen will be more intense, more fun: you get closer to the piece, you notice beautiful melodies, you recognise the importance of the drum part...

Interesting to make comparison to RDNZL and Revised Music, OR even with some guitar solos...

And later on listen to the wole album: Bob in Dacron with Sad jane (100 times), and then the 3 movement of Mo & Herb's Vacation (again: the drums!!...)

You'll love it!

Strange: I could never like Yellow Shark. Some great peak-points there (Valdez, Whitey, Exercise 4), but with some average stuff (Dog Meat) and some really bad playing (Bebop Tango, G-Spot, Magnesium, the spoken-word stuff). I was waiting for a time when I get closer, but no: I just get more far - and closer to LSO and Perfect Stranger.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:13 am 
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When it comes to covers, Ensemble Modern did a FZ album that is largely awesome.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:16 am 
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BBP wrote:
Ensemble Modern did a FZ album

(If we think of this forum as a place of discussion, you probably won't find it offensive if I say exactly the opposite about the "Greggary..." album.)
The whole album lacks the joy and spontaneity of playing music. It wants to be exactly the same, wants to copy FZ's each and every "funny noise" while making Gregary Peccary - it's simply no fun: it's copying. Most of the fun is "artificial fun": when some 'actors' try to behave like the "funny composer did". It just doesn't work. Peaches is not for this arrangement (sad that it was somehow forced by Gail, according to the liner notes).

The versions here (while "trying to be the same") never ever reach or get close to the quality of the originals (why making same versions again?...), one exeption to me is Pig With Wings: my guess is that it was originally written for Ensemble Moders, for the players, for those instruments, so while this version still does not add anything new to the piece, it's still a nice listenning, an intimate piece.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:53 am 
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Civilization Phaze III.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:58 pm 
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I'd cast a vote for Orchestral Favorites. Certainly the most innovative of his "art music" albums, as it features electric amplification technology quite inventively on the orchestral instruments. There's even a wah wah viola solo on "Bogus Pomp" (the suite that uses the best parts of "200 Motels" orchestral stuff), for that alone you should check it out! And of course, skinny lil' motherfucker Bozzio is all over the place on the album! Now listening to Roxy and Elsewhere may have scared the poor Terry Ted shitless when he went to audition for FZ, but god-dammit, the Royce Hall concerts and sessions in September 1975 would've sounded completely different with Chester Thompson on drums.

I've in fact been listening to the Royce Hall concert bootleg from September 18, 1975 and it's really good. Great versions of "Low Budget Orchestra", the Greggery Peccary suite starting from the "Steno Pool" section and "Dog Meat". And Bozzio drums great, he could rock out under Zappa's guitar solo for the definitive version of "Rollo" (that guitar solo is just epic, see Quaudiophiliac), but he also had just the kind of cerebral touch necessary to tackle the complex art music pieces. Zappa also premieres "Black Napkins", which sounds quite good with the orchestra. And just what other kind of classical/orchestral/art music concert can you name that begins with movie music parodies and ends with a heavy metal perversion of "Louie Louie" (FZ tears into the riff after the closing strands of "Strictly Genteel")?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Thanks for the replies, everyone.
F.Natural wrote:

3. Burnt Weany Sandwich - you'll see further development of some themes
4. Hot Rats
I've heard these and enjoy both. Especially Hot Rats. But
Quote:
8. Orchestral Favorites
9. LSO I & II
10. the Yellow Shark
11. Civilization Phaze III
These are the ones I was thinking of. Are these similar sounding albums or do they present different styles?

Ed Organus Maximus wrote:
I'd cast a vote for Orchestral Favorites. Certainly the most innovative of his "art music" albums, as it features electric amplification technology quite inventively on the orchestral instruments. There's even a wah wah viola solo on "Bogus Pomp" (the suite that uses the best parts of "200 Motels" orchestral stuff), for that alone you should check it out! And of course, skinny lil' motherfucker Bozzio is all over the place on the album!
That definitely sounds really interesting, I'll keep an eye out for that one.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:54 am 
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balint wrote:
… It wants to be exactly the same, wants to copy FZ's each and every "funny noise" while making Gregary Peccary - it's simply no fun: it's copying. …

That is a good point. I would classify GP as a "tape composition", a studio work. For me it makes no sense to try to recreate that with an orchestra of real people. Just play the recording from tape in public.

I was at two EM concerts in 2000 when they presented this program. They were in fact using prerecorded music from the original for the Steno Pool section.

When I was at home afterwards, the first thing I had to do was to listen to the original 'to reset my memory'.

Th.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:00 pm 
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i'll add jazz from hell to the list.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Grouped together with "similar " sounds or themes (at least in my mind)

Lumpy Money - you'll get two masterpieces as well as an idea of his processes.
Civilization Phaze III = Phase two of Lumpy Gravy

Uncle Meat
Burnt Weany Sandwich

Hot Rats - Jazz Zappa style

the Grand Wazoo - big band Zappa style
Waka Jawaka - big band Zappa style
Imaginary Diseases - big band, jazz, improv
Studio Tan - hard for me to nail down but RDNZL is not to be missed, check it out on YouTube

Orchestral Favorites - Large orchestra
LSO I & II - larger orchestra
the Yellow Shark - perfect finale


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:22 pm 
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Some of my favourites:

1. Uncle Meat
2. Hot Rats
3. Joe's Garage
4. Sheik Yerbouti
5. Apostrophe (')
6. Zappa live in New York (BLACK PAGE)
7. Freak Out!
8. Burnt Weeny Sandwich
9. You Can't Do that on Stage Anymore vol. 1-7
10. The Grand Wazoo

And, Listen to the Sofa collection, I know of 5 versions, there may be more.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:51 pm 
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The Yellow Shark and Lumpy Gravy


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:40 am 
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Thinman wrote:
balint wrote:
… It wants to be exactly the same, wants to copy FZ's each and every "funny noise" while making Gregary Peccary - it's simply no fun: it's copying. …

That is a good point. I would classify GP as a "tape composition", a studio work. For me it makes no sense to try to recreate that with an orchestra of real people. Just play the recording from tape in public.

I was at two EM concerts in 2000 when they presented this program. They were in fact using prerecorded music from the original for the Steno Pool section.

When I was at home afterwards, the first thing I had to do was to listen to the original 'to reset my memory'.

Th.
I love this Ensemble Modern album, especially the compositions for synclavier (try this and this Mosh).
But I confess I always skip Peaches En Regalia and The Adventures of Greggery Peccary.
Now that's said, I have NEVER enjoyed any cover of Peaches, they all look so awkward and unnatural.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:49 am 
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Maroual wrote:
But I confess I always skip Peaches En Regalia and The Adventures of Greggery Peccary.
Now that's said, I have NEVER enjoyed any cover of Peaches, they all look so awkward and unnatural.


I have to agree on both counts. Peaches always sounds stiff when others perform it. I wonder why that is.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:01 am 
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Gosh, and I love that Peaches because it's so vibrant and alive...

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:22 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:04 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:19 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:00 am 
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Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:45 pm 
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IMHO Shut up and play yer guitar, Jazz from Hell, and Zoot Allures were the most serious Zappa albums i've listen up to the moment.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:46 pm 
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Lumpy Gravy.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:47 pm 
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I really think Wazoo fleshes out the promise of the Grand Wazoo-Waka/Jawaka period in a big-band, live concept. The 17-minute Grand Wazoo is absolutely great start to finish and Greggary totally instrumental shows the complexity of the work.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:35 pm 
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Deathless Horsie wrote:
IMHO Shut up and play yer guitar, Jazz from Hell, and Zoot Allures were the most serious Zappa albums i've listen up to the moment.


Yes. Now that you mention it, Miss Pinky is probably the height of the Maestro's work. Ensemble Modern should do a version in 13/4 time at 340 beats per minute with an extended glissando. And right after the "$69.95, boy/Give her a try" line they could throw in a little Big Swifty done as a country western shuffle before launching in to the Pinky finale.


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