There's never been much commercially available footage of the original Mothers of Invention band, which is what makes The Most Broadcast-The Complete Beat Club '68 all the more special. Frank Zappa and his band of misfits were set to perform at the legendary Beat Club in Bremen, Germany on October 6th, 1968, and their rehearsal performance was filmed, showing the band running through a set of improvisations that included sections and snippets of some of their more avant-garde pieces. In fact, the majority of this performance has never before been released, only the last half showed up on German TV two years after the fact in 1970.
The Mothers line-up here is Zappa (guitar, piano, vocals), Ian Underwood (alto sax), Bunk Gardner (tenor sax, clarinet, flute), James 'Motorhead' Sherwood (baritone sax, tambourine), Roy Estrada (bass, vocals), Don Preston (electric piano), Art Tripp (drums, percussion), and Jimmy Carl Black (drums). Watching this performance, you can clearly see Zappa's vision of the Mothers as an avant-garde jazz band, as other than a few spoken word vocals, yelps, and odd noises, this is demanding, challenging music that borders more on free-jazz and what would soon be known as prog than actual rock 'n' roll. Filmed in black & white and with those trademark late '60s camera effects and jump cut editing, the visuals can be as dissonant and harsh as the music at times, but that takes nothing away from the amazement you'll experience with watching this rehearsal set. Saxes, electric piano, and guitar weave and dart around each other while tumultuous rhythms boil and bubble underneath, the big band going off in various directions but always coming back together thanks to Zappa's tight conducting. Though mostly one long improvisation, Zappa aficionados will note plenty of familiar sections of classics like "Uncle Meat", "King Kong", "Let's Make the Water Turn Black", and others, mixed in with some daring and noisy explorations.
Gonzo Multimedia have long been delivering some cool rarities of lost performances from the vaults, and this is certainly another one. Frank Zappa fans will need this in their collections!
1) King Kong
2) A Pound For A Brown On The Bus
3) Sleeping In A Jar
4) Uncle Meat
5) Let's Make The Water Turn Black
6) Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask
7) Prelude To Act 3 of Lohengrin