I was first introduced to the music of Astor Piazzolla on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, back in 2005. Almost instantly, I realized that I had stumbled upon something incredibly powerful. Filled with melancholy, and while rooted firmly in the traditional Argentine tango genre, Piazzolla’s work is at the same time intensely influenced by North-American jazz and modern classical music. As with Frank Zappa, Astor Piazzolla’s music defies categorization.
Update from United Mutations:
Ascolta are a Stuttgart based septet, though there were 10 on stage this cold November night. As a contemporary music ensemble they have been at the fore of playing modern music. The two percussionists, Martin Homann and Boris Muller were involved in Zappas infamous Rage and Fury recording of Varese (yet to be released).
After sending Gail Zappa the recording of two arrangements of synclavier pieces from Civilisation Phase 3 (Reagan in Bitburg and Im in a Drum), Gail invited them to LA to see whether they could arrange some other synclavier tracks – not yet released! They played a load of tracks, which Ascolta claim were completely unplayable, apart that is from 2 tracks which they took away, arranged and recorded last year for ZFT. Those tracks were Samba Funk and Uncle Sam. Ascolta play Samba Funk along with the synclavier recording from the vault.
Funny how some people who adore FZ’s “regular” music tend to shy away from his “more serious”, “classical instrumental” music. They tend to see it as impenetrable, obscure, entirely inscrutable — in short, way over their heads.
The key, I think, is to listen to Zappa’s instrumental tunes as if they were cinematic accompaniments to one’s very own imaginary movie. They are visceral soundtracks wanting to cater to the stories that are in your very own mind.
Case in point: this rare, unreleased version of Mo’s Vacation below. I’ll hit play, close my eyes, listen, and make up my very own story – you try it too:
There… Was it as good for you as it was for me?
What was your story?
Indeed, Francesco Zappa really lived and wrote much more music beyond that rearranged in the posthumous record.
Yes of course – and finally he has a website now (in italian and english). Looking pretty nice, and the content is quite all right, too. And of course it is “dedicated to Frank Zappa, who discovered Francesco Zappa”. Great work!