Big note march 29 1999

links: frank zappa, captain beefheart, the residents and others

* The Sina Keuning Quintet: Grien (1999, cd, nl, private pressing)

The Sina Keuning Quintet consists of Sina Keuning (vocal), Arne Bohnet (digit piano), Mike Kidson (soprano + alto sax, percussion & vocal), Jan Roeper (drums, percussion, harmonica, etc) and Allan Wilcox (double bass). Sina and Jan are Dutch, Arne is German and Mike and Allan are English. This no-border approach does reflect in the music: three compositions by band-members (two by Sina Keuning and one by Jan Roeper), four standards (Monk's Mood, Autumn Leaves, How High The Moon and Frank Zappa's Blessed Relief) and one Knopfler composition (Romeo and Juliet). Add to this the fact that Sina not only sings Dutch and English but also Frisian and the result becomes even more colourful. The album sounds very relaxed and I enjoy listening to it again and again. The band only consists of five and all the participating musicians contribute in a very specific, essential way. Sina Keuning's voice blends in perfectly with the instruments, especially with Mike Kidson's sax playing. And I guess it's Jan Roeper's drumming that's responsible for the laid back feeling. I did mention that the album includes a superb coverversion of Frank Zappa's Blessed Relief, didn't I?
contact: NL / Allan
contact: UK / Mike 00..44.151.727.5658

* Ike Willis: Dirty Pictures
(1998, cd, ger, muffin records productions cdmrp037-1996-98)

Finally, Ike's second solo cd hit the racks. Having been scheduled for a couple of years, it had me wondering if it would ever see the light of day. Well, here it is. The album is called Dirty Pictures and it's OK.
Ike has a great voice and the band sounds fine as well.

* Grand Funk Railroad: Good Singin' Good Playin' (1999, cd, us, hip-o records hipd-40144)

This classic 1976 album has finally been re-released on compact discformat. This is how re-releases should be done: remastered (and better sounding :-)), a lot of extra info & pics included in the booklet and an extra track (with an obvious Zappa signature) from the same sessions !! A must have!

* dEUS: - (1999, cd5", bel)

Early March 1999, a free copy of this cd5" was issued with Humo, a weekly Belgian magazine. It was a promotional item for the to be released new dEUS album.

* dEUS: Instant Street
(1999, cd5", uk, island records ltd cid 742/572 553-2)
(1999, cd5", uk, island records ltd cidx 742/572 555-2)
* dEUS: The Ideal Crash
(1999, cd, uk, island records ltd cid 8082/524 643-2)

About the same time that the HUMO dEUS promo cd came out, a cd5" was issued, called Instant Street. Two versions exist: a British and a Belgian one. For both versions the title track is the same but different (& non-album) tracks were added.
One week later the album came out. Expectations were high, especially after hearing the latest Zita Swoon. Both bands have the same background and share the same Captain Beefheart & Tom Waits feeling that I like so much. After listening to it a couple of times I have to conclude that the Ideal Crash is a very fine album. It's less aggressive & more poppy than what I had hoped for, but it's worth your attention, to say the least.

* v.a.: Merry Axemas, volume 2 - More Guitars For Christmas
(1998, cd, us, sony music epic 492681 2)

I'm typing this a couple of days before Easter. Makes me wonder when anyone will be reading this. Anyway, volume one was a big hit and that's why Steve Vai assembled this second volume. Nothing but Christmas classics (even I know them) performed by the likes of Steve Lukather, Neal Schon, Steve Stevens, Stu Hamm, Trevor Rabin, Zakk Wylde, John Sykes, Robin Trower, Al Dimeola and Ted Nugent. Another Superb Cover by Gary Taxali and guitar notes supplied by some of the best guitar players around. What else does one need?

* Meridian Art Ensemble: Ear Mind I
(1998, cd, nl, channel classics ccs 11898)

This seventh cd by the Meridian Arts Ensemble is as impressive as its predecessors. The album contains compositions by band members Jon Nelson, John Ferrari and Josef Burgstaller as well as pieces by Su Lian Tan, Tom Pierson, Randy Brecker and, of course, Frank Zappa. The album sounds great & the Zappa pieces are just brilliant. (those of you who are impressed by the arrangement of The Black Page should check out Joe Newman's Rudy Schwartz Project). Essential listening.

* Zita Swoon: Maria (about the successful emotional recovery of a gal namedmaria)
(1999, cd5", eur, warner benelux w 3984 26417 2)

December 1998 I mentioned the absolutely superb album I Paint Pictures On A Wedding Dress by Zita Swoon. Maria has now been released as a cd5" and has a couple of non-album tracks.


some of the below mentioned items are bootleg albums and sold for way too much money (but as the word recordable explains, they're easy to duplicate). most of the items are available in a trade circuit.

* v.a.: The Originals Of The Covers By Frank Zappa

This one's really great. Original versions of tunes that were made 'famous' by Uncle Frank. Twenty tracks, including WPLJ, Bacon Fat, Valarie, No No Cherry, The Closer You Are, The Man From Utopia, Mary Lou, Johnny Darling and many others.

* Captain Beefheart: Out Here Over There
(1999, cdr, head records)

Oh yes, I definitely like the idea behind this. Quality recordings, compact disc format, complete sessions, ... The cd contains the captain's both BBC Top Gear Sessions from 1968. The couple of extra tracks from Cannes, Kidderminster and Amougies are nice throw-ins but not necessary at all in my opinion. They could have been left out and issued on cds that have the entire concerts. It would have been much easier as well: this very album could have been called: BBC Top Gear Sessions...

* v.a.: The Others Of Invention - volume 1
* v.a.: The Others Of Invention - volume 2

Various bands playing Zappa's music, the title shamelessly stolen from the superb Dutch radio show.

books, books + cds, magazines, etceteras

* Urban Gwerder: Im Zeichen des magischen Affen
(1998, book + cd, sw, WOA Verlag)

About thirty years ago Adrian Suter sold copies of Hotcha! in the streets of Switzerland. Hotcha! was a magazine devoted to the Underground in all its aspects. One of the editors of Hotcha! was Urban Gwerder. After the demise of Hotcha! in 1971 Urban Gwerder went on writing about underground music and became friends with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention. He started ZARK (the Zappa Archives), published his Hot Raz Times and even made the Alla Zappa book. Near the end of 1974 he turned his back to all of this, gave away most of his material and moved to the mountains devoting his time to farming, writing poetry. An interest in his works, together with some drastic changes in his personal life, made him return to the city in the early nineties. In the meantime, Adrian Suter had his own publishing company, called WOA Verlag. He went looking for Urban Gwerder again, and asked if he was interested in publishing something again after all these years of silence. The result is called Im Zeichen des magischen Affen. It's a plus 300-page A4-sized book and it's all about Urban Gwerder. The book exists in a male and female version (different covers) and the first 1000 copies include a free cd. The cd contains all sorts of things as it is meant to be a supplement to the book. Very funny (but way too short) is a 9-minute piece taken from the Mothers of Invention concert in Basel, October 1974. An essential publication!

* Gregg Russo: Cosmik Debris - The Collected History and Improvisations of Frank Zappa
(1998, book, usa, crossfire publications)

Very well documented, very informing, this book takes a look at Frank Zappa's musical career. Essential reading, all the way through.

* Bill Harkleroad: Lunar Notes - Zoot Horn Rollo's Captain Beefheart Experience
(1998, book, UK, SAF publishing)

A couple of years ago Billy James told me that he had a couple of interesting projects. I'm very glad that these are actually materialising.
Billy convinced Bill Harkleroad to write Lunar Notes. It's very educational reading and it makes you think about a couple of things, to say the least. If you're into Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band you really should read this! There's No Escape!

* Che Van De Merckt: No Commercial Potential part 2
(1998, book, self-published)

Subtitled "A Frank Zappa Discography & Collector's Guide", this booklet was issued as a supplement to a "Frank Zappa" expo at the Heist o/d Berg Recordfair November 1, 1998. I haven't seen the expo, but if it was anything like the booklet I can imagine what it looked like. The booklet itself lists Zappa's officially released albums, a bit of related stuff (Grandmothers, Flo & Eddie,...), and a lot of bootlegs. The booklet looks good, the title sounds good, but I did not read anything the Torchum Books hadn't told me.

* magazine: Guitar Part no.60, march 1999
(March 1999, fr)

has Steve Vai on the cover, and a transcription of Natural Born Boy inside.

* magazine: Guitar World February 1999
(February 1999)

features an interview with Steve Vai and Mike Keneally on Zappa's Music !

short bits:

* * * * The album El Mundo No Es De La Gente Humilde by Latino Diablo (on Grita/suburban grcd60014) has a Zappa-sample on it.

* * * * * The Captain Beefheart 5 cd set will be called "Rarities 1965 - 1982" and the release date is set for may 18, 1999.

* * * * * A new Zappa sampler is on its way:
Frank Zappa - Son of Cheep Thrills, cover art by Cal Schenkel. Release date: end of April.

* * * * * Guitar man Henry Kaiser teamed up with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith to take on Miles Davis. The 2cd set is called Yo Miles and is 'a tribute to Miles Davis' work from 1973 - 1975'.

* * * * * The latest album by Angelica is not only called Angelica, but also includes quite an amount of guest musicians: Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Dweezil Zappa, Vinnie Colaiuta...

* * * * * Chad Wackerman's third solo release will be called The Scream and is expected any day now.

* * * * * There's a new release out by Arthur Barrow as well, called AB3. It also features Tommy Mars and Bruce Fowler.

* * * * * The latest Jeff Beck album is called Who Else? and is said to be a sequel of Guitar Shop.

* * * * * Neil Sadler's latest album includes Mike Keneally, the Fowlers, Albert Wing & Kurt McGettrick. It's an instrumental album called Theory Of Forms.

* * * * * Despite his illness Zoogz Rift is working on a new album. It will include a couple of 'big names' and he's working out some sort of sponsorship deal that enables you to sign in on the album. - more on this later.

* * * * * There's been a new Beefheart cdr spotted called My Captain. This one is the well know My Father's Place concert, in a new package.

(peter van laarhoven)

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