the big nOte, december 2, 1998

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

* mats / morgan: radio da da
(1998, cd, sw, ultimate audio entertainment uae 9)
mats oberg and morgan agren their latest album is called "radio da da". it's their third album and it proves what everyone's been saying all along: these guys know what it's all about. earlier this year, mats & morgan completed a very successful tour in sweden and also played some prestigious festivals. after listening to "radio da da" a couple of times, i can only hope that their next tour will bring them in my neighbourhood. "radio da da" is a very powerful, very original album. they might have called it "jazz from hell, part two", but then again, it doesn't include a synclavier. essential listening!

* frank zappa: parco redecesio, milan, july 6, 1982 - cd 1
(cdrec-bootleg, lzcd 043 - 500 copies)
the first part of the 1982 zappa concert in milan, italy. a superb concert, and now available (?) on (recordable) compact disc.

* frank zappa: parco redecesio, milan, july 6, 1982 - cd 2
(cdrec-bootleg, lzcd 044 - 500 copies)
part two of the milan concert. 'no,no cherry', 'the man from utopia meets mary lou' and 'the closer you are' make this one of the best concerts i've listened to lately. both of these discs are rather expensive, being nothing more then a couple of recordable cds; but still: a superb concert.

* ralph records 10th anniversary radio special
(1998, cd, usa, ralph america ra 003)
apparently the residents' live at the fillmore cd that i talked about earlier on, was published to celebrate 25 years of residentsexcellence, but did not really count as being part of the "anniversary series". browsing through my rez related records i read the following text: "in honor of our legacy, ralph america is proud to be releasing a series of historical recordings - limited editions cds of old faves formerly on available on vinyl. ralph records 10th anniversary radio special is the fist in this hallowed series." anyway, only 1000 cd copies were made, and this is worth your while so try to get hold of it. the album tells the story of radio announcer mr.penn jillette, locked away in a room for six following days, who is being fed nothing but ralph records: residents, snakefinger, tuxedomoon, fred frith,... he listens and comments. a treat.

* the residents & renaldo and the loaf: title in limbo
(1998, cd, usa, ralph america raa 004)
ralph record's second limited edition release in celebration of 25 years of residents' brilliance. originally issued in 1983 'title in limbo' was indeed a joint project by renaldo and the loaf and the residents. a classic.

* the ed palermo big band: plays the music of frank zappa
(1997, cd, usa, astor place tcd 4005)
based in new york, ed palermo's band plays the best big band zappa that i've ever heard. guest musicians include mike keneally and mike stern. fine arrangements, very fine album.

* guigou chenevier: les rumours de la ville
(1998, cd, usa, cuneiform records rune 114)
guigou chenevier is a french drummer & composer. in the past, he has worked with a/o etron fou (six albums), volapük (two albums) and fred frith (one album: speechless). more recently he formed a duo with rick brown called "les batteries". they released three records already and right now he is touring and recording their fourth album. and in the meantime guigou chenvier still finds the time to work on solo projects: les rumours de la ville / city rumours is his fourth solo release. it is a very interesting project: he composed music for a septet (sax, clarinets, cello, keyboards, guitar, bass and drums), that was recorded an ensemble. then he added taped fragments of student musicians he had recorded during a workshop. strangely enough this combines very well, resulting in very interesting, contemporary classical soundscapes. i like it a lot.

* tommy igoe: new ground
(1996, cd, usa, deep rythm music drmtri-1001)
not the easiest cd to find, this (first?) album by tommy igoe. igoe is the drummer of the ed palermo big band but this album doesn't sound as a big band at all. it's just tommy igou and a bunch of his friends playing some very fine tunes (some igou, some palermo, some zappa). they play zappa's 'g-spot tornado' as if it were a samba and 'heavy duty judy' as a vamp for jazz improvisations. it's a very fine album, a bunch of jazzers playing a bunch of tunes.

* pierrejean gaucher: zappe zappa
(1998, cd, fr, musiclip sta 980214)
it's all in the title: on "zappe zappa" pierrejean gaucher plays (and samples) zappa. the album is a live-registration. the concert was held october 19 and 20, 1997 somewhere in france. i had never heard of pierrejean gaucher before, so i don't have an idea if this is the first time that he has been playing zappa music but the result is very impressive. personally, i'm not to happy with the vocal parts, whether someone is singing lyrics or is using / sampling zappa's voice, but this album reflects a very original, fusion-like approach to zappa's music.

* mats / morgan: the teenage tapes
(1998, cd, sw, ultimate audio entertainment uae 10)
"the teenage tapes" was released together with "radio da da" (see above). it is a retrospective of the seventeen years that mats oberg and morgan agren have been making music. true, when they started out in 1981 they were only 9 and 13, but in the meantime, they have come a long way: from performing the beatles' 'help' on swedish tv to playing with frank zappa. very interesting and as the record label says: ultimate audio entertainment. check out:

* zita swoon: i paint pictures on a wedding dress
(1998, cd, ger, warner music benelux 3984 25088 2)
zita swoon's second cd. if you're into tom waits and/or captain beefheart you should give this a try. the first edition includes a bonus cd. essential listening.

* warren cuccurullo: roadrage
(1998, cd, usa, lo-fi records)
former zappa band guitar player warren cuccurullo has a new album. it's a 'guitar' album: lotsa heavy, bluesy guitar. warren plays zappa's 'transylvania boogie' and 'willie the pimp'. one track written by bozzio & cuccurullo.

* total guitar magazine no51 - christmas 1998
(magazine + cd)
"total guitar" is a guitar magazine. each issue includes a cd that contains lessons, demos, examples and lots more. on of the more recent issues of "total guitar" included a sample / track from the latest al di meola album, called "the infinite desire". the track is called "race with devil on turkish highway" and it's a remake of "race with the devil" from his earlier "elephant gypsy" album. al di meola asked steve vai to play with him on this track. the result is stunning, great, superb,... i want more.

* al di meola: the infinite desire
(1998, cd, usa, telarc cd-83433)
having heard the di meola / vai collaboration, i was more then curious to listen to the entire cd. i was slightly disappointed: it's a fine album, but it could have used a bit more swing, a bit more punch. (a bit more vai?)

* frank zappa: black napkins
(cd2-bootleg, za 34/35)
another (very hard to find !!) zappa bootleg album. and just when everyone thought the bootzzbizz was slowing down. this one has the entire kyoto concert, live in japan, february 4, 1976. another fabulous concert. it should ring a bell, if not: try your 'shut up' box for dates and references.

* forever einstein: one thing after another
(1998, cd, usa, cuneiform records rune 106)
forever einstein is a guitar/drums/bass trio whose stock-in-trade is quirky, rock-based instrumental music that shifts tempo, time change and mood. what else do you want to know? Founded in 1989, forever einstein consists of guitarist c.w.vrtacek, drummer john roulat and bassist jack vees. vrtacek, who composes the music, also has a successful solo career. since 1981, he has released six albums outside of forever einstein. bassist jack vees has been involved with a wide variety of musical styles: not only did he perform and record with john trubee & the ugly janitors of america, he writes books on advanced bass guitar techniques and (last but not least)is a famous composer: he studied with morton subotnick and, more recently, had his compositions performed by the ensemble modern. "one thing after another" is forever einstein's third release and it's a very fine album.

* boud deun: the stolen bicycle
(1998, cd, usa, cuneiform records rune 111)
now here's something you should try! boud deun's fourth cd takes you on a rollercoaster ride through rock, jazz, classical music, bluegrass and even hard-core punk. a great collection of up-tempo compositions that change mood and atmosphere every ten seconds. very powerful, very intense. great album.

* frank zappa: serious music
(cdrec-bootleg, oct-31)
one of zappa's first cd bootlegs has resurfaced on a recordable disc. the result of a cd-writer, a scanner and a color ink-jet printer. this is an interesting development; when the boot originally came out, it was extremely hard to find and very expensive, it being a japanese pressing and all. but, to be honest, serious music is one of my all time favorite zappa bootlegs. so i'm quite happy that it is available once again. if you're in to this sort of thing, serious music is something that one should have on disc. those who never heard of it: the album has some very interesting 1972 studio tracks but is best known for the excellent 'sinister footwear' performed by the berkeley symphony orchestra in the zellerbach auditorium in berkeley, california in 1984.

* captain beefheart: the captain live in liverpool 1980
the captain and his magic band live in liverpool, october 29, 1980. it's a very limited double cd that contains the entire concert in excellent quality. this is too much. very nice packaging, very expensive, but very essential as well.

* frank zappa & captain beefheart: an evening with...
this cdrec contains the famous 1975 kwst-fm radio broadcast (november 1) in which frank zappa and captain beefheart present some of their obscure music. this has been bootlegged a lot of times (the first bootleg that contained material from this show surfaced in 1976!), but to my knowledge this is the first time that the entire show is put on one album.

* behind the mirror & jimmy carl black: cockroach albert
(1998, cd, ger, placebo records pr cd 03)
for their second cd, behind the mirror teamed up with jimmy carl black. the cd is a collection of tracks recorded at various concerts: at the documenta X in Kassel, in Stuttgart and in Lahn; all in germany. "behind the mirror" has a rather weird approach to music, one that doesn't always include tuning their instruments. this attitude was responsible for me not being too wild about their first cd. cockroach albert, however, is more in my alley: besides the fact that they play a lot of zappa compositions and use a lot of familiar phrases, the album sounds very 'early mothers'-like.

* v.a.: arf-society's black cd
(1998, cd, ger, the arf society fz 1221 - limited to 500 copies)
zappanale is the annual german zappa festival, organised by the arf-society. the 8th edition was held the first and the second of august, 1997, nearby bad doberan. those who attended the festival were able to see "behind the mirror" from germany, the "rubbers of prevention" from holland, the "arnie fruit quartet III" with guests from sweden and the US and "sheik yerbouti" from germany. those who didn't attend are proven wrong by this cd. an excellent project by the arf-society, this cd reflects parts of the concerts of the "rubbers", the very impressive "arnie fruit quartet" and of "sheik yerbouti".

going through the above titles once more, a couple of remarks are obvious:
cd recordables and (quality) live concerts are making their entrance. as long as it doesn't become too much of bizznizz, this might be a fine evolution. i don't know why the zappa family didn't come up with this themselves. sure, the 'beat the boots'-projects where a nice attempt, but i'd immediately vote for a concert series: complete concerts on cd, budget-friendly and in a steady tempo (say once a month or so).

and there's more

december 07, 1998: belgian radio:brt 1: "Cucamonga": part of zappa's 1970 brussels concert
december 12, 1998: dutch radio 4: NPS Radio: "4FM": 23.00-24.00: terry bozzio solo


the muffin men are still touring, check their touring schedule
december 21, 1998: dutch radio 4: NPS Radio: "Supplement": the others of invention
© peter van laarhoven (belgium)

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