Waka Jawaka

Released: July 1972


  1. Big Swifty
  2. Your Mouth
  3. It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal
  4. Waka/Jawaka

Frank Zappa, Tony Duran, George Duke, Sal Marquez, Aynsley Dunbar, Chris Peterson, Joel Peskin, Mike Altschul, Jeff Simmons, Pete Kleinow, Janet Ferguson, Don Preston, Bill Byers, Ken Shroyer, Erroneous

15 thoughts on “Waka Jawaka”

  1. It’s hard to point out anything particular about this album: Great as a whole. Beautiful instrumentation, great solos, long, relaxed songs… “Big Swifty” is an all time favorite of mine – Waka/Jawaka is a beautiful tune – a really nice closing of this excellent album.

  2. Two major twisted jazz-fusion compositions and a couple of interesting throw-away vocal songs that almost sound like jazz. Simular to the big band jazz of “Grand Wazoo,” but with a smaller combo and a more relaxed feel.

  3. Oh yeah…word to your mother. This album has major league cajones. Talk about that steel guitar action in “It Just Might be a One-Shot Deal”…huge. The title track, ending the albumn, also smokes, with really long winding jams and some expansive big band sounding parts as well.

    Those two songs definately stand out, but aren’t all you get; overall this albumn will kick your ass.

  4. Just when i thought i had reached zappa nirvana, i hear waka/jawaka. Very unique in that Frank starts with the big band here (I think). The 1988 band is my favorite, although the ones with Colauita and Bozzio are also special to me. Waka/jawaka is a very good record. You really see Frank stretching out and enjoying his role as conductor/composer. he also kicks ass on the guitar, with very melodic phrasing. He was really gifted as a guitarist, too. I love FZ.

  5. definitely one of my favorites. Melodies are great, rythm part on ‘waka-jawaka’ is AWESOME. This album has a kind of ‘cooliness’ in it, that you don’t find in the other ones.

  6. “Waka/Jawaka” begins a whole new Zappa chapter, and it is a musically rich and wonderful one (which chapter isn’t?). This record was touted as “Hot Rats III”, probably because of its mainly-instrumental, slightly “jazzy” approach. What separates “Waka/Jawaka” and the follow-up “The Grand Wazoo” from the original “Hot Rats” is the steadfast commitment to a new kind of rock “big band” approach in the arranging, as well as the fact that the original “Hot Rats” was an overdubbage fest for Zappa and Underwood, while these recordings really do feature a host of talented instrumentalists. The music is fascinating, jamming, uniquely arranged, full of surprises, and stands up to hundreds of listens. Along with others who praised this album above, that soaring pedal guitar slide solo in “This Just Might Be a One Shot Deal” has to be one of the most moving and powerful instrumental work-outs Zappa ever played himself. It gets me everytime. The instrumental theme of “Big Swifty” is always engaging, and even the “space-out” solos in the longer pieces can be riveting. It is also important to acknowledge that Ansley Dunbar is still the powerhouse drumming force, carrying over from the “Flo and Eddie” days, and making the effortless transition to Frank’s new big-band experiements. This is colorful, rich, wonderful music, and even if it isn’t the best first stop to intitiate those unfamilar with Frank’s work, it deserves all the attention it can. Phenomenal music.

  7. I became a Zappa freak on december 21 1971 (my birthday) when I bought my first album, Fillmore East 1971. I did not know much about FZ but was immediately hooked. And there it was in the stores without warning, Waka Jawaka/Hot rats. At first I thought it was some sort of BEST of album because of that Hot rats on the cover but after listening it was something so totally different then what I knew from FZ that i was flabbergasted! The rhythm, the solo’s, the weird vocals…it was AWESOME!!! That same year 1972 I attended my first FZ concert in the Houtrusthalls in the Hague where the Hot Rats Orchestra performed. Strange concert in a very strange venue….Zappa with his leg in plater sitting with his back to the audience conducting…IT SOUNDS LIKE A CAVE…Zappa said and indeed the sound was very wrong…but the concert is still in my mind as being one of the best! Because Waka jawaka was one of the first albums I bought I played it over and over again till I could dream every note and whistle every solo. I still can whistle every solo after so many years but was very suprised to hear another version of Waka Jawaka on the Quadiophiliac cd…It came as a shock that I was not able to whistle that wonderful guitarsolo along but on the other hand it was great to hear the total solo and could agree to the cuts FZ made. A TRUE MASTERPIECE!

  8. A wonderful album, full of jazzy bits that are as fun as they are amazing. Indeed HOT RATS II (NOT III as above–that was SLEEP DIRT). I’m doing ‘Big Swifty’–>’Waka/Jawaka’ for an audition. That’s how much I love this album.

  9. Yep. This is one of my favorites, by far. This was done while Zappa was incapacitated after some crazed fan pushed him off stage in London. I think the lack of physical freedom must have something to do with how stellar this record is. This is something to lend to people who say Zappa never did jazz well (I know people who say this). Sure, the Bitches Brew influence is obvious at points, but Zappa takes it to a whole new level.

  10. This is a matserpiece! Frank was never better! This album have lived with me for 30 years and still growing! It´s perfect jazz! It´s a shame FZ did´t do more jazz-rec´s!
    Obdevil X

  11. I had the good fortune to see Just Another Band from LA, Live At The Filmore East, Waka Jawaka, and The Grand Wazoo preformed over a period of a couple of years in Los Angeles, and I still get goose bumps everytime I listen to any of these albums. Walka Jawalka, and Grand Wazoo, are a tour de-force of Frank’s writing, arrangement, and conducting abilities. Beautiful, melodic, and statisticaly dense. What else could a true Zappa fan ask for!!!!!! Two thumbs up, and buns up kneeling for Waka Jawaka!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. I love it. Your mouth and IJMBAOSD were my theme songs as a kid. Used to request Waka Jawaka on the great college station WWUH, and they would always play it.

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