I'm sorry, but I struggle with this, as you might have expected given the review that I gave to The Taliesin Orchestra's Hits of Enya recently. Here we have The Ed Palermo Big Band with its third (no less!) album of Frank Zappa covers. Only they are more than covers; they are major arrangements for the band with the lyrics stripped out where appropriate; so what you get, unless you are deeply into Zappa, is an album of instrumental big band music. And, as an album of big band music, it is just fine, don't get me wrong, but it isn't rock by any stretch of the imagination. I see it as another in the long series of tributes that began in the 70s (60s?) with bands like The Boston Pops doing covers of The Beatles.
There is one departure on this album, in that the eighth and final track is sung and is, of course, not by Zappa – it is a rendition of the classic "America the Beautiful" and is included as a tribute to Ed's dad.
It's an enjoyable enough album. There is some fine playing across the board with the jazzy piano being my particular favourite sound but there are plenty of other strong performances to pick from. However, I'm not sure that I'll be playing it again any time soon because I am neither a big band fanatic – I do like the sound of those instruments, as regular readers will know, but prefer them in the context of a rock band – nor a Zappa completist. And, unless you are one of those two things, then this album is not for you either.
1) Night School (6:03)
2) Echidna's Arf (Of You) (9:49)
3) Regyptioan Strut (6:56)
4) Don't You Ever Wash That Thing? (6:20)
5) Dupree's Paradise (5:43)
6) What's New in Baltimore (6:04)
7) Let's Move to Cleveland (6:30)
8) America the Beautiful (5:28)