Just when you thought the Frank Zappa archives had been dredged of all the "really" significant recordings (will that ever honestly happen?), here comes this incredible CD of live performances from 1972 featuring the Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo 10 Piece Band (also called the Petit Wazoo band). This is mostly blistering jazz & fusion, smattered with Frank's ornate sense of weirdness and oddball prog rock. Horns run rampant throughout these seven, mostly very lengthy instrumental numbers, and there are plenty of scorching Zappa guitar solos as well. As far as archival recordings go, this is one of the best there is.
Check out the smoking horns and Zappa's scorching blues rock solos on the jazzy "Been to Kansas City in A Minor", a rambling yet stunning journey that sounds improvised, but knowing Zappa every note was probably well thought out. Frank shows himself to be a formidable blues player here, as he slashes his Gibson SG with plenty of rock firepower and a touch of jazz. Listen to him rip as he kicks on the distortion and wah-wah about three-quarters of the way through, eveloped by tons of squonking trumpet and trombone from Tom Malone, Glenn Ferris, Bruce Fowler, Malcolm McNabb, and Gary Barone. The whole band really grooves into a steep jazz-rock incline on "Farther O'Blivion" (Miles Davis or Nucleus anyone?), featuring great interplay between the musicians, especially the horn section, who weave plenty of complex lines and melodies around each other. There's even a killer drum solo from Jim Gordon on this one as well. "D.C. Boogie" is just that, a rampaging, snarling boogie rave-up, led by Zappa's snaking, winding guitar solos and Dave Parlato's nimble bass grooves. This one is as infectious as it comes, and see if you can detect a Grateful Dead/Allman Brothers Band/ Marshall Tucker Band/Phish sort of vibe here, like a meeting of psychedelia and Southern Rock, or "jam band" before its time. The band returns to high-powered jazz rock on the title track, a song fueled by Zappa's guitar licks and plenty of tasty grooves, while "Montreal" is all fusion and prog, a lethal monster with Farlato & Gordon providing plenty of deep rhythms over which Frank lays down some monstrous guitar work. When the horn section comes in, get ready for some majestic yet manic fun!
This is super stuff, and the perplexing notion is that it took all these years for this to see the light of day. If you haven't really listened much to Frank Zappa's instrumental work, and are not really hip to his guitar skills, this is a highly recommended release and something you need to investigate.
According to the liner notes (and there's some fun reading from none other than Steve Vai) there's more of this sort of thing to come. Start counting the days...
1. Oddients (1:13)
2. Rollo (3:21)
3. Been To Kansas City In A Minor (10:15)
4. Farther O'Blivion (16:02)
5. D.C. Boogie (13:27)
6. Imaginary Diseases (9:45)
7. Montreal (9:11)