A couple of recent posts, Philly ’76 and Zomby Woof by Quasar got me thinking about Zappa arrangements in general, and his instrumental compositions in particular – especially within a live context.
True, no two Zappa shows are ever the same, yet Zappa’s variations and improvisations within his arrangements are the very things which make Zappa such a unique musician, performer and composer.
Take the most recent posthumous release for instance. The assembled ensemble gives Zappa’s arrangements a unique sound particular to that performance, that release, that ensemble. The musicians that Zappa assembled for the series of shows that would make up Zappa In New York would make those arrangements altogether distinctive from Philly ’76.
And as the following five tracks I have chosen here will attest, the arrangements performed at the Phys-Ed Complex at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on December 7th, 1975, are just as distinctive as the aforementioned shows. In many ways, Hamilton ’75 is even more distinctive than Philly 76 insomuch that Eddie Jobson seems to be given more of a freer reign to solo in Hamilton (in Hamilton Jobson was a guest performer, while in Philadelphia he was a band member). In “Chunga’s Revenge” the entire ensemble is allowed to “strut their stuff”, so to speak, and express their individual talents within the arrangement.
Something which is uniquely Zappa-esque – whatever the show, the ensemble, the era.
You be the judge:
Stink-Foot (incl. The Poodle Lecture)
The Illinois Enema Bandit
Chunga’s Revenge (incl. Five-Five-Five riff)
Zoot Allures / Filthy Habits
Frank Zappa – guitar, vocals
Terry Bozzio – drums, vocals
Napoleon Murphy Brock – tenor saxophone, vocals
Roy Estrada – bass, vocals
André Lewis – keyboards, vocals
Norma Jean Bell – alto saxophone, vocals
Guest: Eddie Jobson – violin
Warning: KUR will not be held responsible for any metabolic or physiological changes resulting from achieving instances of musical ecstasy – listen at your own risk.