Album Review

Zappa, Frank – “Imaginary Diseases” – [Zappa]

ArtCrimes   5/18/2009   B Library, CD

Zappa’s Grand Wazoo & Waka Jawaka LPs were made with a huge ensemble that was clearly too unwieldy for much road work (a short summer tour of just a few dates was staged), so the subsequent touring band for the Fall 1972 tour was smaller: the “Petite Wazoo.” Heavily armed with winds and brass, they played primarily instrumental music that included new Zappa compositions that would rarely be performed again. Some of the tracks are actually one-time-only jams from specific cities, hence the titles, while bits of “Rollo” and “Farther O’Blivion” were eventually recycled into the “Yellow Snow” suite on “Apostrophe.” It’s interesting to hear FZ perform these large scale works and also deploy some of his typical spontaneous improv techniques with a group nearly twice the size of the previous edition of Mothers. None of this tour was ever available in any form until this release, not even on the 12 CDs comprising “You Can’t Do That on Stage…” so this captures a unique period in FZ’s career, a brief spell of mostly-serious music with nary a mudshark or poncho in view. -crimes-

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