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

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Marc Anderson - Timefish – Usually prog fans expect a certain level of complexity in their music, and a quarter-century's worth of artists have pushed the level of complexity in rock music in many ways: structurally,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues