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Trank Zappa Grappa in Varese?: Live in Waremme

Trank Zappa Grappa in Varese? is another project led by Swiss avant-garde saxophonist Markus Stauss. He is joined by members of the Belgium psychedelic jazz band Wrong Object which include Michel Delville (guitar, guitar synth, electronics), Damien Campion (electric and double bass) and Laurent Delchambre (drums, percussion, devices).

For those of you unfamiliar with the French born composer Edgar Varèse, he is generally regarded as the father of electronic music and his explorations in timbre and percussion particularly fascinated the late Frank Zappa. Consequently, Varèse became a one of Zappa's biggest influences.

The concert took place on November 28 in Waremme, Belgium and included a set of Frank Zappa compositions which make up this mini CD. Anyone who listens to Zappa's music knows it is not easy to recreate, given its complexity and improvisational skill. I have to say Stauss and his cohorts do a fine job. The band focuses on some early Zappa classics like "Mom & Dad" and "Mother People", both originally found on Zappa's We're Only in it For the Money. On the former, Stauss provides some pretty saxophone and on the latter, Delville's '60s inspired guitar groove is pure gold.

The band's rendition of "Apostrophe" is one of the album's best tracks. I love how the band blends Deville's ramped up psychedelic guitar noodling with Stauss's sax lines. The line between composition and improvisation is blurred as the band ventures back and forth with ease. Throughout the set the band shows their considerable skill often taking these compositions into the world of improvisational jamming. I am sure no one would have enjoyed it more than Zappa. The avant-jazz piece "King Kong" ends the concert with Stauss's languid sax and Delchambre's inventive drumming style. The performance is cut short on this version due to malfunctions in the recording equipment, thus the fade out ending.

Live in Waremme is an excellent live CD that showcases this band's talent for blending melody with free form jazz improvisation. Although this is a short CD, it's an enjoyable one from beginning to end. A fitting tribute to Zappa indeed.

Track Listing:
1. Willie the Pimp (4:06)
2. Mother People (2:48)
3. The Gumbo Variations (5:02)
4. Mom & Dad (3:45)
5. Apostrophe (4:13)
6. King Kong (4:33)

Added: October 31st 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label Website
Hits: 3268
Language: english

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