Exposé Online banner

The Ed Palermo Big Band — Oh No! Not Jazz!!
(Cuneiform Rune 380/381, 2014, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-03-11

Oh No! Not Jazz!! Cover art

On three previous releases, and on half of this one, we hear bandleader Palermo and his big band (eighteen players plus guests this time) covering the music of the late great Frank Zappa. This time out we are also treated to a full second disc featuring mostly Palermo’s own compositions, which as one might expect, are somewhat Zappa influenced yet manage to sound extremely original at the same time, pulling in a strong swing component working in a powerful orchestral jazz style, and pulling out all the stops. In fact, after a few listens to the complete two-disc set, one has to pretty much conclude that the dozen Palermo pieces on disc two are the real icing on the cake here. But that in no way lessens the excellence of the arrangements of Zappa material on disc one; in fact, that they can both exist side by side complementing each other is a testament to Palermo’s brilliance as both a composer and arranger. Kicking off with “Inca Roads” with Napoleon Murphy Brock guesting on vocals, they jump next into a version of “The Uncle Meat Variations” that is every bit as impressive as the original from 1969, in fact let me say this – it’s better than the original. Versions of “Chunga’s Revenge” and “Little Umbrellas” pack a serious punch as well, but “Dog Breath Variations” maybe not so much, sounding almost like there’s too many cooks in the kitchen trying to make a rock composition sound like jazz. The five minute arrangement of “Lumpy Gravy” is a real surprise, breathing new life into what was probably one of Zappa’s weirdest endeavors. And almost as if it had to end this way, the first disc fittingly closes with “America Drinks and Goes Home,” which originally closed Absolutely Free back in 1966. All taken, this is an outstanding package that underscores Palermo’s prowess as a composer, arranger, and bandleader. My highest Recommendation.


Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): The Ed Palermo Big Band, Frank Zappa

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Andy Summers - The Last Dance of Mr. X – What's this? Former Police-man Andy Summers fronting what is essentially a power trio? And with a backing band consisting of monster bassist Tony Levin and Gregg Bissonette on drums? Perhaps the...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues