Zomby Woof By Quasar

Ardent devotees of the music of our time, the Quasar saxophone quartet is dedicated to premiering and promoting contemporary music that is multi-dimensionally conceived. Celebrated for its energy, audacity and exceptional technical ability, Quasar explores different aspects of artistic creation from instrumental music to live electronics, from improvisation to instrumental theatre. Quasar received two OPUS prizes.

It seems they also have a cover version of The Black Page.

17 Responses to “Zomby Woof By Quasar”

  1. jonnybutter says:

    thanks Balint. These guys are good!

  2. Harry Barris says:

    Anything with a baritone sax has got to be good!

  3. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Harry Barris:

    Anything with a baritone sax has got to be good!

    Not always, Harry Barris. There is always something problematic when a group of musicians attempt to pull off a composition of this complexity with only reed instruments. I mean, they seem to competing with each other for the lead at times. Methinks the heart of the problem here lies in how this composition was initially arranged for four reeds. Ed Palermo would have arranged it quite differently (having become a near expert at arranging reeds within Zappa’s complex compositions). As it is, in my opinion, Quasar’s version of Zomby Woof for four reeds comes off quite flat because whomever arranged it never set each reed instrument apart for it’s strength and it’s weakness – which is what ultimately sets one arrangement apart from another.

  4. jonnybutter says:

    The only problem I have with the arrangement is the wrong notes – in the arrangement, not the playing. Being an obsessive fan, wrong notes sound very glaring, but then again, Zappa himself sometimes let mistakes get through in re-arrangements sometimes, so…

  5. Theydon Bois says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    Zappa himself sometimes let mistakes get through in re-arrangements sometimes, so…

    Do you have any examples of when this happened? It’s not that I don’t believe you, but none are springing to mind (or none that I could confidently call “mistakes”, rather than deliberate changes, anyway).

  6. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    Pleasant recent discovery (sort of on topic I hope): Swedish band Bohuslän Big Band. If you have access to Spotify, check out this album!

  7. Paul Sempschi says:

    A quote from Theydon Bois:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    Zappa himself sometimes let mistakes get through in re-arrangements sometimes, so…

    Do you have any examples of when this happened? It’s not that I don’t believe you, but none are springing to mind (or none that I could confidently call “mistakes”, rather than deliberate changes, anyway).

    I think there’s a split second edit-error in the Weasel’s version of “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama”… the intro of the acoustic guitar solo.

  8. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Barry’s Imaginary Publisher:

    Pleasant recent discovery (sort of on topic I hope): Swedish band Bohuslän Big Band. If you have access to Spotify, check out this album!

    They sound very interesting, Barry. But, as per usual, Spotify is unavailable in Canada. Something to do with us not going along with Draconian copyright laws like the US and much of Europe has already done (we are still the home of many torrent and P2P sites). Seems as though the Big Corporations will only allow you to share music as long as they can get a bite of you along the way. If you don’t play by their rules – no access. It might take a little longer, but I’ll get myself a taste of Bohuslän Big Band Plays Zappa. You’ve peaked my interest. Thanks. Btw, the reviews I’ve read for it are very positive.

  9. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    They sound very interesting, Barry. But, as per usual, Spotify is unavailable in Canada.

    Oh but there are ways around that (Spotify’s “unavailable” in Belgium too). I’ll drop you a note on that.

  10. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    Do you have any examples of when this happened?

    It would be easier if I could just show you notes!

    I could be wrong calling these things ‘mistakes’. It could be that they were originally errors, and Frank just let them go, i.e. ‘fuck it, who cares?’:

    1.) compare the original flute/guitar section in ‘Peaches’ to that section in later versions of that song. In the original, the last part of that section is syncopated, and on the later versions, the lick is sort of dumbified – not syncopated.

    2.) Compare the original version of ‘Pound For a Brown’ with later band versions. The ostinato bass figure is originally altered (with a major 7th instead of a dominant 7th) just before the entrance of the second part of the first melody. That is omitted in, for example, the ‘Live in NY’ version. Maybe that detail didn’t work in the much faster live version (so that would be deliberate).

    I think there are ‘changes’ in some of the ’88 band arrangements, too, but i can’t think of any off hand right now.

    It’s not a big deal. It’s just sort of funny, because Zappa was so incredibly detail oriented most of the time – the tiniest details can matter so much. It’s also possible that, on some of the older tunes which were played a thousand times (like the two mentioned above), it was just a matter of ‘aw fuck it’, as I mentioned above…that Frank was sick of those tunes anyway, especially ‘Peaches’, I would think (ie ‘The only ‘good’ Zappa song from the only ‘good’ Zappa album’).

  11. jonnybutter says:

    I do think, however, that if you are a third party arranging Zappa music, you really should be very careful, and not change notes around so much, unless you have a very good reason for doing it.

  12. Bálint says:

    Well, I have the album “Oh no! etc etc” album by LeBocal, and the reason I like this one is mostly because of the changes they made (surprisingly with the permission of the ZFT, by the way).
    What you hear there is NOT the “original” – but Music. (Used freely, understandingly, with full knowledge of the tune – and themselves). But isn’t it the MOST you can get from an album dedicated to FZ?

  13. Theydon Bois says:

    Cheers, Jonny. As you say, it’s hard to say if those are “mistakes” as such; I’d guess the “Peaches” change must have been a conscious decision at some point, given how consistently all the later live versions stick to the “dumbed-down” version. As for “Pound”, that’s not a change I’d ever particularly picked up on before, but you’re quite right; that said, at the tempi of the later versions it’s a subtlety that I doubt many audience members would have noticed, especially since in those latter arrangements the ostinato bassline drops out immediately afterwards.

    Paul, I’ve had a listen to that moment in “My Guitar” and I must confess I’m not completely sure where the mistake is. Probably my cloth ears though.

  14. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    It’s not a big deal. It’s just sort of funny, because Zappa was so incredibly detail oriented most of the time – the tiniest details can matter so much. It’s also possible that, on some of the older tunes which were played a thousand times (like the two mentioned above), it was just a matter of ‘aw fuck it’, as I mentioned above…that Frank was sick of those tunes anyway, especially ‘Peaches’, I would think (ie ‘The only ‘good’ Zappa song from the only ‘good’ Zappa album’).

    Like any artist, I don’t think Zappa saw his compositions as “set in stone” so to speak. I’ve heard too many versions of particular compositions over too many years performed by his various ensembles to call any of these variations mistakes. Some versions change very little over time, becoming Zappa Standards (we hear many of these on the second disc of Philly ’76), while others are more open to individual variations (depending on the ensemble and the individual musicians on the particular piece). Such pieces are Pound For A Brown, Little House I Used To Live In, and Chunga’s Revenge appear much more open to variation than say, pieces like Strictly Genteel, Bogus Pomp, Filthy Habits and his more classically oriented compositions. I suppose the amount of variation is determined largely by the overall aim of the piece, at least performance-wise. At least that’s the overall conclusion that I arrive at.

  15. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    in those latter arrangements the ostinato bassline drops out immediately afterwards.

    I think you’ve hit on the key to the change right there, Theydon; if the ostinato drops out, the former maj 7th doesn’t make sense. I never thought of that before.

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    Like any artist, I don’t think Zappa saw his compositions as “set in stone” so to speak.

    Of course a piece is never ‘done’. I’d say a big deal with being a creative artist – whether you’re Bach writing a fugue, or Zappa revising or remixing – is knowing when to stop. That’s complicated by, in Zappa’s case, having to come up with touring material every year.

    For my taste, Zappa sometimes didn’t know when to stop. It would be presumptuous of me to call those occasions ‘mistakes’, but some pieces were, IMO, better before they were fiddled-to-death (like the piano intro to ‘Little House’, or the infamous re-recordings on ‘Ruben’ etc.). His prerogative, of course.

  16. Thinman says:

    Many times compositions and arrangements don’t exist in written form. So everytime a new touring ensemble might be rehearsing it, changes might creep in (wanted and unwanted).

    Reminds me of Yes’ Union tour. When Rick Wakeman and Tony Kaye were surprised how differently they had heard each other keyboard parts on the records. For that tour they had the chance to equal that out.

    That is how music is made most of the time.

    Th.

  17. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    Many times compositions and arrangements don’t exist in written form.

    True enough.

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