The Band from Utopia — A Tribute to the Music of Frank Zappa
(Muffin MRP020, 1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01
What we have here is basically a romp down memory lane by the members (mostly) of Frank Zappa's 1988 touring band ("Make a Jazz Noise Here", "The Best Band You've Never Seen in Your Life"), an all-in-good-fun tribute to the music of the man himself, just the way he would have wanted it. And who better to pull this off than the guys who spent night after night playing these tunes during the 80s: Tommy Mars, Ed Mann, Ike Willis, Chad Wackerman, Arthur Barrow, Bruce and Tom Fowler, Kurt McGettrick, Robert Martin... The entire event was recorded live at The Jazz Open Festival at Stuttgart, Germany, in July 1994. As one might expect – with this lineup especially – the sound and overall approach proximates the real thing, and although initially Zappa's guitar and voice are noticeably absent, one has to agree his spirit is alive and present. They take on many of the classics: "Take Your Clothes off When You Dance," "City of Tiny Lights," "Zomby Woof," and twelve others. No "Whipping Post" though; oh well, you can't expect everything in a single one hour performance. This one's a must-have for all fans of Zappa's music.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
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