Ed Palermo Big Band – Live & Kicking

Anyone who knows me, knows my affinity for Big Band Zappa, so whenever I get an opportunity to hear Ed Palermo Big Band arrangements of Frank Zappa’s compositions, it’s a real treat. Today was no different, when I uncovered Palermo’s February 6th, 2009, show at Five Towns College, Dix Hills Performing Arts Center, Dix Hills, NY (with guests Napoleon Murphy Brock, Bruce McDaniel, and John Tabacco) available for download.


The concert begins with a wonderful one-two punch with “Pachuko Hop/Behind The Sun“, a version I hadn’t heard since the Mothers 1969 bootleg, Pachuko Hop, followed by “Pojama People/Inca Roads” (see clip above). Other highlights include “The Idiot Bastard Son“, “Village of the Sun/Montana“, “Strictly Genteel” with Bruce McDaniel on vocals, and the concert finale “Evelyn, A Modified Dog” sung by John Tabacco. My favorite clip of the show is “King Kong/21st Century” (below):

In addition to the Dix Hills concert, also available for download are excerpts from Ed Palermo’s CD launch party at the Iridium club on June 3, 2009. Outstanding tracks such as “Rollo/Regyptian Strut” and “We Are Not Alone” are must hear, and “Is That All There Is?” and “Yo Cats” featuring Mike James on vocals are hilarious.

47 Responses to “Ed Palermo Big Band – Live & Kicking”

  1. Chuck says:

    Ed carries the torch for me… I listen to his albums and live material a lot. Even songs that I may be a trifle sick of listening to after the last 25 years from FZ are interesting again in Ed’s arrangements.

  2. peter says:

    yep, it was Ed that truly helped my wife appreciate Frank. I tooke her to a Bottom Line, NYC show way back when. She was thriilled to attend this Dix Hills show, said it was the best concert she has ever seen…and I’ve dragged her along to see a lot of bands…from the Ramones to Nick Cave to Clapton (it was free, I actually can’t stand God!). It was really nice to see the band on a big stage and Napi was ultra sharp in his silver suit. I always thought Frank should have had a dress code for the band (and himself!). Goodness gracious, on the last ZPZ tour Ray White looked like he just got out of the gym. A fookin’ disgrace!

  3. Grafitti On The Wall says:

    It just sounds so flat, no balls whatsoever.
    Sort of reminds me of instant coffee at a bad buffet.
    I can appreciate some of the things that are going on in Ed’s arrangement but it does not make me flip out just because they are Big Band Arrangements.

    The whole groove is just too flat.
    The whole Max Bennett John Guerin grove of this arrangement lacks balls. A decent sax solo followed by a reprise vocal section where Ed’s conducted horn section movement interplay does add some contrast that attempts to wake us up from the flannel up ‘n down ‘em trap-door back aroun’ ‘em cozy little footie rhythmic blandness
    but when I see a guitarist but can not hear it this arrangement has me saying regardless of what instrument gets the solo that the same old mediocrity is what is on my mind.

    Overall nothing that screams the of hoy hoy hoyness FZ showed us on OSFA. That ay be fine for people that just want Big Band Arrangements of Zappa but I am sure given the opportunity Joe Travers & Dweezil Zappa could Clonemeister the Ed Palermo Big Band fit in quite well with the ZPZ core. Get a 10 night run of Joe Travers & Dweezl Zappa clonemeistering ZPZ Meets the Ed Palermo Big Band and I am sure the sonic landscape would be ever so much more entertaining.

    Ed Palermo Big Band remains Lots of fun for people that want to hear watered down Big Band arrangements of FZs music.
    In the ballpark but I expect more balls to the floor.
    I have heard smaller Orchestral Ensemble with more balls than what Ed is doing . The guitarist in this arrangement pretty much is doing absolutely nothing. Why even bother having him there. Not much to say about his guitar work in this or in in Ed’s hybrid King Kong/21st Century Schizoid Man arrangement either. The opening movement of King Kong sounds good but from the first horn solo forward
    that arrangement lacks lots of sauce.
    Ed is either just not arranging the guitar into the arrangement all that well or he just does not have a guitarist that can do the job.
    Get a guitarist who has a great rig, can perform in that FZ chicken and spider air sculpture mode so some life gets put into these arrangements.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a 7.2 .
    I would have given it a 6 for the phony guitar posing maneuvers
    but ‘ll just leave that criticism out of the rating.
    I just had to give a little respect to Ed’s horn conducted section that attempted and I say attempted to bring some life to a dead arrangement but overall it’s only still mediocre.

  4. Matt says:

    Wake me up when he’s done writing.

  5. peter says:

    So Trendmonger/Grafitti on the Wall, Gail Zappa approves the licensing of Ed’s arrangements for release on Cuneiform Records. If it’s as bad as you make it out to be, why does she do it?

    Enjoy your ZPZ show on July 1. I’m going to see Project/Object that same night. ZPZ is not worth the 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive. Sorry.

  6. Matt says:

    Interesting that the person decrying the judging of Ben Thomas based on YouTube clips is now judging this guitarist based on YouTube clips. Hypocrisy is a trend that never goes out of style, unfortunately.

  7. Grafiti On The Wall says:

    A quote from peter:

    So Trendmonger/Grafitti on the Wall, Gail Zappa approves the licensing of Ed’s arrangements for release on Cuneiform Records. If it’s as bad as you make it out to be, why does she do it?

    Enjoy your ZPZ show on July 1. I’m going to see Project/Object that same night. ZPZ is not worth the 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive. Sorry.

    My opinion does not have to do with Gail Zappa. I have seen the Ed Palermo Band so many times enough to know how I feel regarding his arrangements. They are fun Big Band Arrangements that breathes too much of Ed’s persona more than amazing me for being so On Frank. Now maybe some people really really like that but after so many years of seeign Ed’a arrangements I found they really started lacking something special for my taste.
    I am not making Ed Palermo out to be Bad Bad Apple . I would rather see him be a bit more adventurous in regard to core Guitar Tonalities of FZs repertoire. I would like to see some of what Ed is doing remain but sem of it like all this hybrid multi-group arranging just has not moved me.

    Some of his arrangements are nice and some of these arrangements are just to much Ed and too much hybrid material that does nto fit fro my taste.a Just because it does not move me all that well does nottae away from me saying his live shows are lots of fun especially for the environment and genre that he is performing in. I am just one very critical motherfucker who is not going to continue to raise Ed on a pedestal just because he is out there doing Big Band Zappa. Lot’s of hard work and in the ballpark results, I really give him lots of credit fro keeping such a large group together fro so long a period of time but some of the arrangements just lack lots of what I am expecting to hear in Zappa’s music.

    I will once again say if Joe Travers and Dweezil Zappa has a chance to clonemeister ZPZ Meeets Teh Ed Palermo Band adnthey had adn engagementof several shows I think teh results woudl be so much more to my liking than what Ed Palermo is doing.

  8. Grafiti On The Wall says:

    A quote from Matt:

    Interesting that the person decrying the judging of Ben Thomas based on YouTube clips is now judging this guitarist based on YouTube clips. Hypocrisy is a trend that never goes out of style, unfortunately.

    Hey I can see through the bad youtube problem.
    Unfortunately others can not but the problem with Ed’s music i
    for me is the arrangement lacks balls. I have seen Ed alermo Big Band no less that 50 times. I know what is going on.
    It’s all fun Big Band Arrangement with lots of Palermo personality and not enough Frank Zappa. He puts the eyebrows on in certain
    Ed Plaermo Arramgement kinda way but it just severly lacks that
    guitar part of Zappa.

    I can hear some minor guitar work in sections but these arrangements just lack balls regardless if their is guitar or not.
    The horn solo and conducted interplay between the vocal reprise just is not enough to get me to that Frank Zappa Hoy Hoy Hoy land that we heard on OSFA. I like it but it is mediocre.

    Listen to what FZ did with Petite Wazoo September 1972 when his guitar soloing was not even at it’s top game yet.
    Listen to Zappa with The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra at Royce Hall, UCLA September 1975. Listen to Zappa Live In New York December 1976. Ed is just too much bland Ed Palermo Big Band Personality.

    All these multi-song hybrd arrangements do not hde the fact that teh
    FZ Chicken and Spider Air Scupture partof the program is extinct.
    I ahve seen Ed Strap ona guitar but Ed’s soloingbe it on guitar r sax are jus not that inspiring.

  9. Grafiti On The Wall says:

    ADDITIONALLY

    I am certainly not making the buying decisions for the public.
    I am not telling anyone not to go to his shows or not buy his albums.
    If u like this stuff certainly go ahead make it a part of your life.
    It’s fun and their combined efforts take a lot of time to get it to that level of performance but in all sincerity I can only hope at some point Ed decides to get a really good guitarist and find a way to MIX that in.

    I am sure Ed can find a guitarists who can give us 5 to 7 5 to 7 minute solos in a 1 1/2 hour program where the conducting ,arranging and some horn solos would still be a good portion of the program.

  10. peter says:

    eegads, it’s a jazz band, sometimes I think he should ditch the guitar entirely. As for extended guitar solos, I generally don’t like them. Frank is one of the handful I will tolerate. That’s ZPZ’s most glaring sin: Dweezil solos way too much.

  11. Matt says:

    Expectation is a prison, says Robert Fripp. It’s better to enjoy something for what it is than to complain about what it “lacks” (based on personal preferences/fetishes).

    Ed Palermo’s band is horn-driven. The guitarist’s function in most big bands is primarily rhythm, and the horns get the solos. If you want five-minute guitar solos, then by all means, listen to ZPZ to your heart’s content.

  12. Grafitti On The Wall says:

    A quote from Matt:

    Expectation is a prison, says Robert Fripp. It’s better to enjoy something for what it is than to complain about what it “lacks” (based on personal preferences/fetishes).

    Ed Palermo’s band is horn-driven. The guitarist’s function in most big bands is primarily rhythm, and the horns get the solos. If you want five-minute guitar solos, then by all means, listen to ZPZ to your heart’s content.

    That is a very interesting quote from Robert Fripp. I have been Frippertized where Robert was amazed enough by my commentary
    that he stopped the interview Fripp/Audience statement and response process and he handed me special pinn he made up for such occasions.

    This commentary between myself and Fripp may very well be included on that package his sister put together but I had informed Robert how a fan next to me on line was expecting to hear 20th Century Schizoid Man that evening and I had to tell this guy this show of Roberts Soundscapes was like a painter with his easel and all his various paints and brush strokes where he may paint you some fruit and vegetables.

    Robert was wondering if the soundscapes or the fans themselves were the vegetables. This is a total joke for supposed long time fans to expect 20th Century Schizoid Man at a Fripp Soundscapes Concert.

    Like I said I really enjoyed what Ed was doing for many years.
    I let so much of Ed just come across and enjoy it for show after sow after show after show but after a while I became bored with the arrangements. After a while it was just too much Ed Palermo and not enough FZ.

    It is still very entertaining Zappa Big Band Arrangements and I still do enjoy it but after a while I just wanted so much more out of what Ed was doing. The special guest people he had and newer arrangements were just not all that moving.

    It is from over a decade of listening to so many Palermoized arrangements of FZs music where after a while the Ed Palermo side of the arranging was a bit over the top. I have been hit with too much Ed Palermo as if it were an ice pick to the forehead.

    When he started doing these multi-band arrangements that is when I only further deviated from being excited and tiring of his arrangements.

    Once again if Ed was doing a little of what FZ did with Petite Wazoo,
    The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra and Zappa Live in NY for me that would be far more entertaining than Santana, Zappa & /Ellington hybrid of Jingo G-Spot Tornado & Caravan. Those arrangement did absolutely nothing for me.
    It’s not like I am looking for teh Ed Palermo Big Band to become Shut Up N Player Yer Guitar but a better balance of where the overindulgent of Ed’s Arrangements is what is shut up. There is just too much Ed Palermo for my taste. Add some balls guitar to the arrangements and in no way do I think you loose the ig Band Side of things. Ed needs to develop some balls.

  13. urbangraffito says:

    Okay, Graffiti on the Wall, it’s put up or shut up time. You say “after a while it was just too much Ed Palermo and not enough FZ”. Alright, let’s take, “Rollo/Regyptian Strut” for instance, exactly where does Ed Palermo deviate from these classic FZ arrangements? Your entire argument appears to be based on the prerequisite of a seven minute guitar solo (which does have its place, but not in a Big Band arrangement) and personal bias (which, of course, is perfectly all right – to each his own).

  14. Thinman says:

    Trendmonger, it is enough that you’ve spoiled that forum over there. There is no need to do the same thing here again.

    Use URLs instead of posting you’re redundant useless crap everywhere.

    Th.

  15. Graffitti On The Wall says:

    I happen to think the main body of the arrangement and also soloing backdrops and transitions is quite enjoyable here but to literally answer your question the entire soprano sax & trombone solo sections that both take up a significant portion of the arrangement
    deviate considerably. It’s a shame Rollo was cut short where that seems to be more a section of Rollo’s Interior as opposed Roll.
    http://www.palermobigband.com/Multimedia/20090603%20Iridium%20Set%202/01%20Rollo_Regyptian%20Strut.mp3

    Seeing so many EPBB shows over the years at some point in any one of these shows these Ed Palermo arrangements where they very well could for the most part contain a main body that sticks fairly close to FZ compositional framework but somewhere along the lines you get the feeling lots of Ed Palermo is taking over the composition.

    In regards to deviation or just thinking these are Big Band Arrangements:

    As I have said many times if people really like this stuff in no way am I on some brigade to redirect people from enjoying what Ed does
    but I am most certainly going to say my piece where I think Ed could balance out the arrangements to include some missing elements.
    I explained some examples and I don’t think Frans guitar work in those programs detracted from what he was doing with those large ensembles.

    In all honesty long ago I had been trying to help Ed get to the attention of GZ where hopefully they could play live for her. As I very well should I am always going to let Gail be Gail and try to not get too much in the way but if me sending that show from 1996 went to help get Ed approval fro his record releases I am glad to have helped.

    So even though my criticism seems out of left field where one may think Oh this guy is just on another rampage against some cover act
    in all sincerety that is not the case.

    Here is an example
    I had videotaped a show for Mike Keneally at The Bottom Line where Ed Palermo was also on the bill and while I am in no way part of that trade community I made it a point that the musicians involved and the ZFT had a copy.

    Yes you pointed out a pretty good arrangement that is another fine example of being well In The Ballpark but overall in Ed’s deep involvement in rearranging FZs work fro Big Band his deviation is
    a bit more than just lacking guitar.

  16. Robert says:

    Oh boy, what ever happened to the art of short and precise blog posts?

  17. Matt says:

    Some people are just artless.

  18. Kevin Hoover says:

    I really enjoy reading Graffiti on the Wall’s opinions because he’s plainspoken and offers supporting data for his arguments. If his posts were shorter they wouldn’t be so rich and rewarding (and funny).

    It’s a coincidence, because all weekend, Po-Jama People was going through my mind for some reason. The great thing for me at this point, and I’m sure for others, is that I can play back Frank songs in great detail in my head and analyze them almost as well as if I was actually listening to them.

    When I heard Ed’s version of Po-Jama People, I had a thought similar to GOTW’s about the relative lack of Hoy Hoy Hoyness. And I also understand about the lack of what Lord Sutch called “gutty guitar” in Ed’s arrangements, but I look at it differently.

    Where I don’t agree with GOTW is that there’s anything erroneous with jazzing up Frank’s tunes to the nth degree. Some bands metal-out on Frank music (that one German band… the name escapes me at the moment…), which is always fun. While I’m not a jazzoid and might adore the presence of grindcore guitar, that’s not really a part of the jazz idiom, so OK. I appreciate the purity of Ed’s vision.

    However, this I agree with and thank GOTW for stating: “Get a 10 night run of Joe Travers & Dweezl Zappa clonemeistering ZPZ Meets the Ed Palermo Big Band and I am sure the sonic landscape would be ever so much more entertaining.” All I’d say is, add Mr. Keneally to that mix and I’d be in hog hebbin, so to speak.

    Anyway, I’m going to interview Mr. Ed tomorrow or the next day for the radio show, and if anyone has any questions, feel free to pass ‘em along. I really want to get deeply into the music in the interview.

  19. Harry Barris says:

    I think i understand what Graffiti On The Wall is getting at (I think??):

    imo, Ed Palermo and his band/arrangements are just too “nice”–kinda the way Steely Dan has sounded for the last decade or so. Making sure everything sounds “smooth” and not too ‘ugly’, ‘challenging’ or ‘difficult’. A pleasing “sheen” for the audience in attendance. More emphasis on the ‘chart’ rather than what the individual musician(s) can bring to & elaborate upon that chart.

    Mr. Palermo is a ‘nice guy’. Was Frank? Was that what made FZ’s music so ‘interesting’ & unique. The “edge” is missing from these cover forays.

    Why are the Zappa originals always better than these cover versions? Why is the original (father) musician always more innovative than the son: Lennon, FZ, Dylan, Buckley, etc., etc., generally speaking?

  20. urbangraffito says:

    I wouldn’t call Palermo’s arrangements deviations as much as interpretations. Personally, I know how difficult it is to transcribe FZ compositions for a reed instruments alone. It’s an accomplishment in itself (especially when one takes in the other wind instruments as well). You make your position position quite plain, Graffiti on the Wall, each time you accuse “Ed Palermo is taking over the composition.” Therefore, every other interpretation besides those involving Frank or Dweezil are taking over the composition while theirs are the only ones that are true to the spirit of the original compositions.

    Actually, this flies in the face of what Frank actually said, and undermines how versatile Zappa’s music really is with it’s ablility to be interpreted in multiple ways.

    Since when is deviation a bad thing anyway?

  21. Kevin Hoover says:

    Hey, Ed is lovingly reinterpreting FZ compositions in the musical language he knows best… we would all do this differently based on the nature and nurture of our musical wiring. It’s the sort of activity that ought to be encouraged, and helps make a strong America and a better world.

    Since I’m rock-inculcated, I totally see what Harry Barris means with regard to the Ed versions being too “nice,” and the antiseptic Steely Dan effect. But again, to jazz-conditioned ears, Ed’s treatments may come across as heavy indeed.

    Me, I always want more graunch in my tinkertoy – know what I mean? I’ll ask Ed about the “niceness” problem. This may not be the first time he’s heard that.

  22. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    A quote from Kevin Hoover:

    Anyway, I’m going to interview Mr. Ed tomorrow or the next day for the radio show, and if anyone has any questions, feel free to pass ‘em along. I really want to get deeply into the music in the interview.

    Couple o’ questions: how does Ed go about re-arranging FZ tunes for a big-band arrangement — especially those that are heavy on either percussion or solo guitar (i.e. not quite fit for big-band right off the bat)? What’s his “modus operandi”? How much deviation from the original does he feel comfortable with? Does he read KUR? ;)

  23. Graffi On The Wall says:

    A quote from Kevin Hoover:

    I really enjoy reading Graffiti on the Wall’s opinions because he’s plainspoken and offers supporting data for his arguments. If his posts were shorter they wouldn’t be so rich and rewarding (and funny).

    It’s a coincidence, because all weekend, Po-Jama People was going through my mind for some reason. The great thing for me at this point, and I’m sure for others, is that I can play back Frank songs in great detail in my head and analyze them almost as well as if I was actually listening to them.

    When I heard Ed’s version of Po-Jama People, I had a thought similar to GOTW’s about the relative lack of Hoy Hoy Hoyness. And I also understand about the lack of what Lord Sutch called “gutty guitar” in Ed’s arrangements, but I look at it differently.

    Where I don’t agree with GOTW is that there’s anything erroneous with jazzing up Frank’s tunes to the nth degree. Some bands metal-out on Frank music (that one German band… the name escapes me at the moment…), which is always fun. While I’m not a jazzoid and might adore the presence of grindcore guitar, that’s not really a part of the jazz idiom, so OK. I appreciate the purity of Ed’s vision.

    However, this I agree with and thank GOTW for stating: “Get a 10 night run of Joe Travers & Dweezl Zappa clonemeistering ZPZ Meets the Ed Palermo Big Band and I am sure the sonic landscape would be ever so much more entertaining.” All I’d say is, add Mr. Keneally to that mix and I’d be in hog hebbin, so to speak.

    Anyway, I’m going to interview Mr. Ed tomorrow or the next day for the radio show, and if anyone has any questions, feel free to pass ‘em along. I really want to get deeply into the music in the interview.

    Good luck with your interview. I have no problem with you quoting me regrading these arrangements over the last 10 years becoming too much The Ed Palermo way of arranging for his Big Band instrumentation that is lacking in what FZ did with some decent sized ensembles for example Petite Wazzo, The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra & Live In New York. The Zappa always stood above ensemble instrumental genre.

    If you should quote me please keep it in context as described above but also include I still not only have an appreciation for what Ed is doing but that I still hold that candle of eagerness for his band to play for GZ & Company and hope it could lead to something else.

    In all honesty if Ed’s Big Band ever gets that chance to do some extended engagement where Joe Travers & Dweezil can clonemeister
    ZPZ Meets Ed Palermo Big Band I think it would be a combination
    that ever so much more represents the composers work.
    It’s not that I don’t like Big Band music , Frank worked will all sorts of ensembles but regardless of the typical classification of the instrumentation of these ensembles it sounded Zappa more than it was and musical genre.

    Ed Palermo has become too much Ed Palermo Big Band arranging and not enough of the Zappa that we always heard that stood above the genre of a given ensembles instrumentation.

  24. metafunj says:

    I agree that this arangement lacked something in the balls department. I think Ed’s arrangments are superb and I couldn’t hear any errors from this youtube video. However, I also felt the guitar was kind of unnecessary for a big band and that the that the sax solo should have started right after “hoy hoy hoy,” like on OSFA, instead of waiting a few bars. This adds to the overall energy of the song. I think a lot of Zappa tribute bands suffer from a lack of intensity without FZ being there in person. This includes Ed’s band and ZPZ.

    I don’t care what anyone says about Dweezil learning Frank’s style better than anyone else and having an as close to FZ’s as possible replicated rig. We have all heard it already. His solos are for the most part boring, end of story. This is cuz its not a DZ solo its a DZ immitating FZ solo. If he would played in his own style , like Vai had, it would have been a lot more interesting.

    Need proof?

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x27wn3_frank-zappa-dirty-love-keneally-vai_music

    Oh and Jerry Outlaw from Bogus Pomp can play in the chicken vs. the spider style just as well and in a more convincingly inspired manner that DZ.

    I agree with GOTW though, I’d love to see ZPZ and the horn section here merge. Play some Dec 1976 stuff and 1972 arrangements and I’d be in heaven.

  25. Matt says:

    Why would he quote you to Ed? Get over yourself.

  26. Trendmonger says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    Trendmonger, it is enough that you’ve spoiled that forum over there. There is no need to do the same thing here again.

    Use URLs instead of posting you’re redundant useless crap everywhere.

    Th.

    If you or anyone does not want to read my input over at Zappa.com they can FOE my User ID so that commentary is so out of line. Zappa.com has long been a place where many users act like a bunch of school yard bullies regardless of my participation. The moderator here can make a decision on what they allow and what they won’t.
    I seem to notice some fair argumentative dialog where everyone is giving their opinion.

    I state my opinion boldly and I am not afraid to take chances in stating an unpopular opinion long before everyone jumps on a bandwagon all while at the same time avoiding much of the school yard antics. There is always misinterpretations and false accusation on the internet but be who you are Thinman and your true colors shine through. Keep on pointing fingers and I am sure it will be you who hangs himself for I will copy and paste your bad behavior to isolate your bold attacks that lack any fair sense of argumentative dialog.

    In this topic I have shown that I am not afraid to take a stance on Ed Palermo’s arrangements being too much Ed Palermo. I do this while not only giving respect to the hard work he puts in to make it what it is but I also let people enjoy it for whatever it is without playing a school yard game. I am not going to sit around listening to Ed Palermo’s Arrangements for well over a decade and not
    at some point wish it had more sauce.

  27. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Trendmonger:

    In this topic I have shown that I am not afraid to take a stance on Ed Palermo’s arrangements being too much Ed Palermo. I do this while not only giving respect to the hard work he puts in to make it what it is but I also let people enjoy it for whatever it is without playing a school yard game. I am not going to sit around listening to Ed Palermo’s Arrangements for well over a decade and not
    at some point wish it had more sauce.

    I cannot judge the Zappa.com forum (since I have long avoided it like the plague, myself), yet as long as a commentator at least attempts to back up his or her opinion (no matter how unpopular it is) with facts or a logical argument, they are welcome here at KUR. If anything, agree or not, these debates certainly do make one hungry and thankful for the real thing.

  28. Thinman says:

    BTW: I don’t care much for Ed Palermo in this case and the recent jazz scene in general. The whole scene decided to take the “harmless” direction at one point. It must be hard to earn a living as a jazz-musician today and nobody takes musical risks anymore.

    They are taking care not to loose their neo-liberal clientel (which is the case here in Germany where FDP-oriented jazzclub owners and organisations only book acts with clearly stay on track in the mainstream).

    Th.

  29. Kevin Hoover says:

    “this arangement lacked something in the balls department.”

    The Balls Department. That would be just past Notions, downstairs from the Ministry of Silly Walks.

    “I have no problem with you quoting me regrading these arrangements”

    Nah, I’m just sending Ed a link to this thread so he can get the raw feed.

    “Couple o’ questions: how does Ed go about re-arranging FZ tunes for a big-band arrangement — especially those that are heavy on either percussion or solo guitar (i.e. not quite fit for big-band right off the bat)? What’s his “modus operandi”? How much deviation from the original does he feel comfortable with?”

    That’s exactly the kind of thing I wonder about, and will attempt to delve into.

    “Does he read KUR?”

    I expect he does now!

    “It must be hard to earn a living as a jazz-musician today and nobody takes musical risks anymore.”

    I don’t agree with that. Apart from the legal and technical risk inherent in attempting to replicate Frank music, Ed’s arrangements of the tunes on the new album are rather radical reinterpretations. It may not be a life-threatening procedure, but he definitely isn’t playing it safe per se.

  30. urbangraffito says:

    Hmmmmm. Lacking “something in the balls department.” What exactly does this mean, anyway? Isn’t interpreting Zappa compositions for Big Band radical in and of itself? There are those who expect every Zappa arrangement to be perfect “note for note” renditions of the originals. How incredibly boring that would be. The whole reason I listen to all the Zappa tribute bands (including Ed Palermo) that I do is for the incredibly wide variety of approaches they each employ. Each time, I find something that makes me happy to be a Zappa freak. As it is, too, with Ed Palermo. Yes, there may be some minor deviations from song to song, yet overall, he brings some of Zappa’s compositions to jazz heights that sometimes even the maestro did not. Now that is something that should be applauded.

  31. metafunj says:

    For me the balls department means it has intensity to it, which I do not detect when listening to this version of Po Peeps. That’s all. I like covers just not this particular one.

    GOTW how much did Frank deviate from the original composition when he recorded “Purple Haze” “Bacon Fat” or “Mary Lou Meets The Man From Utopia” or a number of Beatles songs?

    What made it ok for Frank to alter other peoples work? Was it because he is a genius so he has special rights and privaligizes? Is no one allowed to reinterpret his works because he called himself a composer? Last time I checked the score “Bolero” didn’t have a reggae section to it. So what gives? Why was it ok for Frank to reinterpret other peoples pieces but not vice versa? Maybe i’m assuming too much, maybe you think Frank shouldn’t have changed other peoples pieces.

    What about his own peices? How dare Frank remove the guitar solo from later versions of Montana. How dare he let horns solo exclusively over “Black Napkins” or “The Second Movement From Sinister Footwear,” with no guitar. Shame on him!

  32. urbangraffito says:

    Bravo, metafunj. How dare Frank! How dare Ed! What happened to all the fun in the world anyway? Of course, FZ deviated from other composers work whenever it suited his fancy (and I’m glad he did), or we wouldn’t have “The Texas Motel” medley, now would we?. Or the versions of “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whipping Post”? Each bandleader and arranger will, of course, approach a piece differently. For that, I am glad. They give permission for future bandleaders and arrangers to interpret Zappa’s work their own way, and deviate accordingly. Each addition is a welcome one to the Zappa canon in my opinion (sure, some may fall flat, but that’s the risk one runs when attempting to arrange Zappa’s music for instruments they weren’t originally arranged for — that takes BALLS.)

  33. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    BTW: I don’t care much for Ed Palermo in this case and the recent jazz scene in general. The whole scene decided to take the “harmless” direction at one point. It must be hard to earn a living as a jazz-musician today and nobody takes musical risks anymore.

    They are taking care not to loose their neo-liberal clientel (which is the case here in Germany where FDP-oriented jazzclub owners and organisations only book acts with clearly stay on track in the mainstream).

    Th.

    I do agree with you regarding the recent jazz scene in general, Thinman. The era of risk-taking and personalities in jazz seems to be long, long gone. And we are stuck in a perpetual loop of nostalgia for the past (because, let’s face it, jazz and jazz fusion reached it’s peak in the 70s and never really reached that plateau again, did it?). And those organizations booking jazz acts (often snooty members only clubs) aren’t going to risk their “hip” and “stylish” “neo-liberal” clientele on anything as risky as Frank Zappa these days. It’s a pity. A real pity. Since it was Zappa’s music that re-opened the door to jazz for me: Cecil Taylor, Curtis Fuller, Eric Dolphy, Oliver Nelson, and Archie Shepp just to name a few. When was the last time you heard the works of any of these great jazzmen at your local jazz club?

  34. Thinman says:

    The single jazzclub in our town is one of the oldest clubs of that kind in Germany. It’s not bad for a 80000 inhabitants countryside-town to have a longlasting venue of that kind. I didn’t attend a concert at this club for years.

    Prior to that they were obviously working with a booking agency where they had to buy packages with some “nasty” groups in it when they only wanted the streamlined artists for their pipe-smoking liberal-party club-members-only evenings.

    And they had to let the public in because those packages were expensive. So during the “nasty” acts the club was filled with “nasty” non-members.

    Nowadays they only have secondary stuff like the regular unknown european latin-, soul-, pop- and party-jazz – and Candy Dulfer once a year. No more nasty stuff. So the members and the pipes are on their own again.

    —-

    BTW: Frank’s bigband style was always different and in a sense nasty, too. Ed Palermo is regular schoolbook bigband style. This difference clearly makes me a fan of Frank’s style.

    Th.

  35. Kevin Hoover says:

    Well folks, I just finished my hour-and-a-half long interview with Ed Palermo. I can’t think of anything that was let unasked.

    You might be be surprised at some of his thoughts on things – maybe even kind of upset! But it’s fascinating to hear his operating philosophy for reinterpreting Zappa music.

    Anyway, he’s a great guy, very humble, and basically, according to him, just a huge FZ fan who is trying to celebrate Frankness in his way.

    Now I gotta edit the show and prep it for airing July 3.

  36. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    A quote from Kevin Hoover:

    Well folks, I just finished my hour-and-a-half long interview with Ed Palermo. [snip] Now I gotta edit the show and prep it for airing July 3.

    Any chance we could stream the interview (once it’s aired, of course) here on KUR, Kevin? Regardless: am curious to have a listen.

  37. metafunj says:

    One of the things this discussion made me think about is what are the true goals of the ZPZ tour is and what are the goals of various tribute artists. It is my opinion that Dweezil’s goal is for new generation of fans to get to hear Frank’s compositions as close to the original recordings as possible. Since many people in there 30s and younger have never had a chance to see Frank perform live I think this is a very good thing.

    The only thing I find odd is that DZ injects guitar into pieces in which they were never part of especially in the 70s versions of these songs which seems to be the eon he choses to emulate.

    There is no guitar guitar playing the written melodies in the 70s recordings of Inca Roads, Montana, The Purple Lagoon, or The Black Page No. 2. If Dweez wanted to stick as close to the original as possible he shouldn’t have added the guitar lines that are from the Vai/Keneally era.

    Me thinks there are 3 reasons he did this. 1) He just likes to play it on guitar, and its his band so he can, even though its not historically accurate, 2) He needed things for guests like Vai to play on, and 3) the marimba isn’t a very popular instrument with young people like guitar is.

    So, one could argue that the ZPZ performances are interpretations and not “Authentic.” Even though I’m a guitarist and love Vai and to hear the guitar in Frank’s pieces sometimes it seems over done in ZPZ. I would like to hear some of the other instrumentation stand out more because they’re all wonderful players.

    When talk about tribute artists its a totally different animal. Some of these artists have seen Frank many times and have seen many other tribute artists. To them the idea of performing FZ compostions identically must seem very boring and goes against Frank’s idea of adding eyebrows to the pieces. I think what bands like Ed Palermo’s do is help to keep the music fresh. Even the most ardent Zappa fan is going to get tired of hearing Roxy versions of peices over and over. Frank was often the first one to get bored because there so many versions of his peices.

    So I think ZPZ and the other tribute artists and covers all serve a valuable purpose of keeping Frank’s music alive, whether its performing in close line with the album or reinterpreting a work, we need it all and there is something for everybody.

    I will also say that there are some well known tribute artists that really don’t do the pieces justice and I could see that being especially annoying to the Zappa’s given Frank’s perfectionism. If you can’t play a peice of music properly you should play something that is in your realm of abilities.

  38. Kevin Hoover says:

    “Any chance we could stream the interview (once it’s aired, of course) here on KUR, Kevin? Regardless: am curious to have a listen.”

    Absolutely, and I had that possibility in mind when I was doing the interview and I’m honored that you asked. Lemme whip it into shape, taking out the talking-overs and level-setting and stuff, and after it airs I’ll get it to you for your evaluation. One rather amateurish thing I did was offer some of my own paltry opinions on a few topics, and I’ll probably minimize that since, hello, it’s supposed to be about Ed.

    Here’s a few SHOCKING advance revelations: Ed considers himself a rock and roller at heart – the Beatles are the awesome to him. Also, to Ed (and as you know, me), Mike Keneally is the greatest thing since sliced muffins. And, but, also… wait’ll you hear his short list of Zappa songs he doesn’t like at all. And there’s one “golden era” Frank album for which Ed has no affinity either… like I say, SHOCKING!

    It’s too bad about Michael Jackson. That guy had amazing talent until the stardom syndrome ruined everything.

  39. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    A quote from Kevin Hoover:

    “Any chance we could stream the interview (once it’s aired, of course) here on KUR, Kevin? Regardless: am curious to have a listen.”

    Absolutely, and I had that possibility in mind when I was doing the interview and I’m honored that you asked.

    Cool! Drop a note when you’ve finished the Whipping Into Shape :)

  40. peter says:

    So offensive and insulting. Dweezil & Joe would be way down the list as far as jazz arrangements go…way too deluded by rock pyrotechnics.

  41. Half Japanese says:

    My Dad is a big band fan and he just doesn’t get rock music. To him, King Solomon’s Mines is the greatest film of all time and he believes Stan Kenton’s version of Hey Jude is a masterpiece, “if Kenton plays it, those Beatles must be REAL MUSICIANS,” not able to face that this was a pathetic attempt to get kids to listen to old people music. To this particular Dad, a degree from North Texas State is certifiable proof of musical worth in this world.

    I am conflicted about the Ed situation. I love deeply that Ed does what he does and find the music good, and never, ever want Ed to stop doing this. OTOH, Zappa’s recordings are untoppable and have so much character and power, that any attempt to cover this music seems to be doomed, tragical folly. This is why tribute albums usually bite crud.

    Ed must know this, but quixotically plunges on. This is beautiful madness, and us Zappa nuts who know every blat on The Grand Wazoo will always bitch about the missed punches here and there. I have seen Ed live only once and was thrilled and at the same time, complained about tempos, weak spots, blah, blah.. I did feel, on a gut level, that, without a doubt, what Ed is doing is WORTH DOING.

    My Dad just got Eddy Loves Frank for a b-day gift from me and he is apparently diggging it (I haven’t heard it yet, any reviews?), and Ed’s motives are much purer than Stan’s were.

  42. 2 halves make a "hole says:

    My Dad is a big band fan and he just doesn’t get rock music. To him, King Solomon’s Mines is the greatest film of all time and he believes Stan Kenton’s version of Hey Jude is a masterpiece, “if Kenton plays it, those Beatles must be REAL MUSICIANS,” not able to face that this was a pathetic attempt to get kids to listen to old people music. To this particular Dad, a degree from North Texas State is certifiable proof of musical worth in this world.

    I am conflicted about the Ed situation. I love deeply that Ed does what he does and find the music good, and never, ever want Ed to stop doing this. OTOH, Zappa’s recordings are untoppable and have so much character and power, that any attempt to cover this music seems to be doomed, tragical folly. This is why tribute albums usually bite crud.

    Ed must know this, but quixotically plunges on. This is beautiful madness, and us Zappa nuts who know every blat on The Grand Wazoo will always bitch about the missed punches here and there. I have seen Ed live only once and was thrilled and at the same time, complained about tempos, weak spots, blah, blah.. I did feel, on a gut level, that, without a doubt, what Ed is doing is WORTH DOING.

    My Dad just got Eddy Loves Frank for a b-day gift from me and he is apparently diggging it (I haven’t heard it yet, any reviews?), and Ed’s motives are much purer than Stan’s were.

    My Dad is a big band fan and he just doesn’t get rock music. To him, King Solomon’s Mines is the greatest film of all time and he believes Stan Kenton’s version of Hey Jude is a masterpiece, “if Kenton plays it, those Beatles must be REAL MUSICIANS,” not able to face that this was a pathetic attempt to get kids to listen to old people music. To this particular Dad, a degree from North Texas State is certifiable proof of musical worth in this world.

    I am conflicted about the Ed situation. I love deeply that Ed does what he does and find the music good, and never, ever want Ed to stop doing this. OTOH, Zappa’s recordings are untoppable and have so much character and power, that any attempt to cover this music seems to be doomed, tragical folly. This is why tribute albums usually bite crud.

    Ed must know this, but quixotically plunges on. This is beautiful madness, and us Zappa nuts who know every blat on The Grand Wazoo will always bitch about the missed punches here and there. I have seen Ed live only once and was thrilled and at the same time, complained about tempos, weak spots, blah, blah.. I did feel, on a gut level, that, without a doubt, what Ed is doing is WORTH DOING.

    My Dad just got Eddy Loves Frank for a b-day gift from me and he is apparently diggging it (I haven’t heard it yet, any reviews?), and Ed’s motives are much purer than Stan’s were.

  43. urbangraffito says:

    Half Japanese. 2 halves make a “hole”. half japanese. Intellectual Gibberish. gobbledygook. Mental Masturbation. Lorem Ipsum. What’s the joke? Is anyone else laughing?

  44. Bob says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Is anyone else laughing?

    Does a chuckle count?

  45. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Bob:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Is anyone else laughing?

    Does a chuckle count?

    Har, har, har, Bob. You’re killing me, really you are (no fooling!)

  46. Bob says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    (no fooling!)

    fooling?

  47. Central Scrutinizer says:

    Two halves make a “Hole”?

    Last I heard Two halves made a “Whole” as in Two halves completed something making them whole.

    Education, some people need it.

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