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PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:20 am 
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Wow, some extremely gifted musicians (and people in the arts) are arrogant. Who shall alert the media first?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:13 am 
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If I remember correctly, I read that Zappa first met Ruth Underwood (or Komanoff) at a Miles Davis concert.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:28 am 
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Through Google I found this quote:

http://hilobrow.com/2011/05/23/ruth-underwood/

"Then, standing outside a Miles Davis concert one night with her brother Charles, Zappa walked by."


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:02 am 
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Nice link. It looks like Ruth's birthday is just one day after that of Ian!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:35 pm 
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I sort of think of the live 88 albums as one piece. So I don't pick up a unique perspective on any of the three. All three are great and uniquely 1988. It did take me a while to warm up to Frank's ultra-flanged solo tone, but I finally came around to really liking it. My only lingering regret about the 88 albums is Frank's decision not to write new instrumentals for that great band he assembled. That was really a missed opportunity, imo.

This is a fucking great thread, isn't it? 3 pages of great discussion and observations by FZ fans about FZ, with no stupid shit pissing everyone off. I love it. There's hope for us yet. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:28 pm 
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Ed Organus Maximus wrote:
There's also another source, a Trouserpress overview of FZ' oeuvre, possibly dating from 2000 or so. It describes "Swifty" as a Miles "parody/homage".

http://www.trouserpress.com/entry.php?a=frank_zappa

But certainly, I guess I was trying to emphasise that while FZ' reputation is quite heavy on satire, it would not be fair to view everything he did with an intent to parody whatever musical idiom he was tackling. Only where the sneer is most immediately obvious (e.g. "Tinsel Town Rebellion" 1984 and its references to synthesised pop of the day). Then again, there is a possibility that some of his art music features musical satire directed against classical norms (like the viola/string section problem in "Bogus Pomp").


I don't think FZ looked to parody anything unless it was to make some larger societal observation. I do love how he quotes musical passages, a few notes at a time. I remember thinking that if he kept the '88 band going, he would have worked up all sorts of references to '50s TV or movie music. That band could turn on a dime, musically speaking...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:07 pm 
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Disc two of the 2012 Make a Jazz Noise Here is still my car cd players favorite....it's been stuck in there for about eight or nine Months now, refusing to eject dispite the repeated and scientific beating of the dash board....I may have to extract the unit and perform some irreversible surgery to retrieve it....Thankfully these days most of my driving is carried out in the company car, which has a six disc changer and so far doesn't appear to have any favorite cds..


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:11 am 
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Ronny's Noomies wrote:
My only lingering regret about the 88 albums is Frank's decision not to write new instrumentals for that great band he assembled. That was really a missed opportunity, imo.



He was used to writing for Synclavier by this time but did have a few bits for this band including the "Yuppies" theme. Perhaps if the tour had continued there would have been more.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:21 pm 
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I stand by my Miles Davis is boring comment. I stand by my Waka/Jawaka Big Swifty is sublime comment.

To put my likes in some kind of perspective, I still really enjoy significant chunks of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Brand X, various Billy Cobham projects, King Crimson at all stages and similar stuff from way back. I haven't grown out of it as some of it's timeless in my opinion - I just end up getting too familiar with it. More recently, King Crimson's Power to Believe, John McLaughlin and Chick Corea's Five Peace Band tour are great collections of music, but there's just not enough of it being made.

If I wasn't a composer and spent most of my music time playing and writing my own music and had more time to listen to other music I'd end up mighty depressed.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:04 am 
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Bold stuff poly. MD has such a huge catalog. I've been revisiting Bitches Brew lately. Its been many years since I listened to it, while I've been slowly acquiring the rest of the catalog, currently probably 1/3 so far. If I compare BB to many of the live albums of the period, then yes, for the most part it is boring. Just because it is MD's band doesn't mean that they don't noodle around as much as The Grateful Dead or any other "jam band". If I look only at the post-late-1960s Miles, most of those albums become more or less interesting in pockets. A spark happens here and there, maybe it gets sustained for a while, then something else takes over. It is this type of architecture that has promoted the "tennis without a net" quote from Stanley Crouch. So, there is a kernel of truth to it, but since its MD exploring new territory its overblown. Calling a lot of these pieces "compositions" is VERY generous except for the assembly of parts at the beginning. MD picks the players, maybe a melody to work with, sometimes, and that's it. Is that enough? It is for a couple albums worth, but I can admit to not always being able to tell one of the following live albums from each other:
Black Beauty
Fillmore East
Jack Johnson
Live Evil
In Concert
Dark Magus
Agharta
Pangea

You could probably add a few more titles in there except that the production is different enough to make it obvious.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:28 am 
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What's all this shit about Big Brew and Swifty Bitches?? Pass me some Acid Mothers!!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:51 pm 
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polydigm wrote:
I stand by my Miles Davis is boring comment...
The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
...but I can admit to not always being able to tell one of the following live albums from each other:
Black Beauty
Fillmore East
Jack Johnson
Live Evil
In Concert
Dark Magus
Agharta
Pangea...

I was absoluteley fascinated when i heard BB for the first time and still like most part of it. But the more titles of his first electric period i learned to know the more i lost interest. especially when they began to play the blues for the next fifteen minutes. I prefer the moments when they really were rocking, there is a lot of great Pete Cosey guitar solos and lots of other great rockin and funky stuff to find. I love lots of his late electric period, when he finally had found out that u don't need 20 minutes to say something that u can say as good in 3 or 4 minutes. You are under arrest, the man with the horn or Tutu have lots of good stuff to offer, Aura always reminded me a little bit of LSO. Sketches from spain was mentionend above in this discussion, there is some spanish sounding stuff in the instrumental version of Greggery peccery (prior to the pile-of-transistor-radios section) that always reminded me of this album. Is it just 2 big bands including trumpets and castangnets playing spanish sounding music or is there more coincidence? (I always wanted 2 ask this the musical minds in this forum).
I don't think that Miles is boring. There is a lot of boring stuff in his output but also lots of absoluteley exciting stuff throughout all of his periods. These parts are worth the effort to find out.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:01 pm 
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Downtown jazz i thought nobody liked it :D it's shit :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:38 am 
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ursinator wrote:
...I was absoluteley fascinated when i heard BB for the first time and still like most part of it. But the more titles of his first electric period i learned to know the more i lost interest. especially when they began to play the blues for the next fifteen minutes. I prefer the moments when they really were rocking, there is a lot of great Pete Cosey guitar solos and lots of other great rockin and funky stuff to find. I love lots of his late electric period, when he finally had found out that u don't need 20 minutes to say something that u can say as good in 3 or 4 minutes. You are under arrest, the man with the horn or Tutu have lots of good stuff to offer, Aura always reminded me a little bit of LSO. Sketches from spain was mentionend above in this discussion, there is some spanish sounding stuff in the instrumental version of Greggery peccery (prior to the pile-of-transistor-radios section) that always reminded me of this album. Is it just 2 big bands including trumpets and castangnets playing spanish sounding music or is there more coincidence? (I always wanted 2 ask this the musical minds in this forum).
I don't think that Miles is boring. There is a lot of boring stuff in his output but also lots of absoluteley exciting stuff throughout all of his periods. These parts are worth the effort to find out.

Isn't there an old jazz quote something like "If you can't say it in a couple choruses, then you can't say it no matter how long it takes". I think the MD jazz/funk stuff works against that. I think the composition is secondary to creating a dynamic with the various players and then letting them have enough rope to either hang themselves (which they do on occasion) or create something that can't be found on the 3-4 minute piece.
Sketches of Spain and his other studio albums in general are a different story altogether, thick with composition.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:46 am 
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Poly we seem to favor the same music. Here are some things I've discovered that if you don't already have, you may want to check out. Most are on YouTube.

Energit (S/T)
Aera -Hummanum Est
Rolf Kuhn - Total Space
Blue Effect & Jazz Q Praha - Coniunctio
Iceberg - Sentiments
Transit Express - Opus Progressif
Percy Jones - Tunnels
Jungle Pilots - Down Under
Jasper Van't Hof - The Door Is Open
Kazutoki Umezu (Kiki Band) - Land Dizzy
Eero Koivistoinen - Wahoo!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:39 pm 
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Val Valentin wrote:
Poly we seem to favor the same music.

Thanks for the suggestions. I've tried a couple out already and they're at least interesting on first listen. Percy Jones' recent efforts are particularly interesting, especially what that guy is doing with the electronic vibes.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Val Valentin wrote:
Transit Express - Opus Progressif

First one I checked out.
The composed parts of this were not very impressive were they? The piece is even less interesting than any redundant Miles Davis jam from the 70s because it lacks the unpredictability of those sessions. It owes a lot to the original Mahavishnu Orchestra. The violin player is doing Jerry Goodman. The new age intro is by-the-numbers prog with the odd time and the acoustic guitar chords. Their groove for the second section was stiff. They certainly can't touch Miles groove. Did that bass player try to get funky at about 7:30?

I guess what Miles did in the 70s was open a lot of doors for others to walk through. Miles output might not all be listenable but musicians could take all of the best ideas and build from it. Some added breathtaking composition to to the mix and could also maintain a serious groove. These are the ones who took what Miles showed and made it even better. Others couldn't groove at all and piled on all of the jazz/fusion cliches they could muster.


Zappa's '88 band was his best band of the 80s. Zappa knew how to use jazz elements in an exciting way. Jazz music helped Zappa along considerably.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:41 pm 
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As usual, I very much agree with your post, except for one sentence:

downer mydnyte wrote:
...Zappa's '88 band was his best band of the 80s.

I just don't know why people believe that.

On Zappa and his relationship with Jazz, I've found that to be a continually interesting topic. Right now, I'm thinking about a quote from one of the alumni, saying that the reason FZ would often dismiss Jazz is that at some point, the soloist's expression becomes the important part of the piece and with FZ, the number one thing had to be FZ's composition.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:15 pm 
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The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
As usual, I very much agree with your post, except for one sentence:

downer mydnyte wrote:
...Zappa's '88 band was his best band of the 80s.

I just don't know why people believe that.

I should probably rephrase that. Zappa's '88 band is the band I enjoy the most from the 80s. It's Zappa's material that makes this band my favorite. (Whats New In Baltimore notwithstanding). The cover songs sometimes annoy me. Purple Haze/Sunshine Of Your Love is pointless to me. I don't like the country-drawl bit much either. I do like the jazzy arrangements and the horns.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:20 pm 
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downer mydnyte wrote:
I've always thought Bitches Brew was boring. I love some of those musicians but that shit is meandering.


I thought that for many years, but I don't any more. It clicked about 1-2 years ago. For me, it was when I was able to (finally) clear the preconceived notions I had, and listen to it like I'd never heard it before and knew nothing about it.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:24 pm 
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Ed Organus Maximus wrote:

I'm quite partial to In a Silent Way myself. At least that one is arguably one of the first ambient-jazz albums. Perhaps not as big of a revolution as Bitches, but no less inventive and still holds up after four (and a half, my god time flies so quick!) decades. It's not often that you get to hear Tony Williams and John McLaughlin play so...understated!


One of my desert island discs, Mr. Organus Maximus.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:30 pm 
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The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
downer mydnyte wrote:
...Zappa's '88 band was his best band of the 80s.

I just don't know why people believe that....

I like this band too but the more bootleg recordings i learn to know the more i got the impression that they played the same songs the same way much more than any other band did. i miss the great variety of different sounding versions of the same song. Am i wrong? Especially best band sounds a lil bit like a greatest hits compilation (while broadway had the new songs and jazz noise a lot of jazz noise). BTW there is lots of great stuff from other 80s bands: 2nd half of ship arriving, the instrumental sections on the humor CD or the underrated tinsel town rebellion album, sinister footwear or the title track from them or us....

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:03 pm 
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I'm still bummed that the '88 band never made it to the US west coast leg of that tour. I was all ready to go and the band broke up. :cry:
Are any of the jazz ensembles that play only Zappa's compositions? If so, like Ensemble Modern, aren't they considered a Zappa tribute band to then? Do you have to keep it in a rock & roll format to call it a tribute band? What is the definition of a Zappa tribute band then? When a traveling jazz group plays only Zappa, are they as much of a tribute band as say Pajama People are? Just wonderin'...

Your right BS, this is a really cool thread! :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:19 am 
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Thanks, dm, pb and bp!

What I like in Zappa's music in general (and that is well emphasized and used in the 88 band) is his ability to juxtapose different blocks of diverse styles (from country to free jazz, with everything in between), often in a few bars within the same song. The heterogeneous and eclectic aspect of his compositions is the main spice in Zappa music that turned me on from moment Zero, when I first experienced a cassette reproduction of the Apostrophe(')'s St. Alphonzo fanfare back in 1995.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:21 am 
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And speaking of Jazz. If you listen to jazz you often hear "references" to other musicians tunes played as a sign of respect or as a sign that a composition has made it's way into some sort of collective. Are there examples of this in reference to Zappa's compositions....

I have one example that comes to mind...On the album Future to Future by Herbie Hancock theres a song with a sax solo played by Wayne Shorter at one point he plays the melody for King Kong.

This could be a Phd study course!! :shock:

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