Exposé Online banner

Zappatistas — Absolutely Live
(Jazzprint JPVP 122CD, 2001, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2002-09-01

Absolutely Live Cover art

What has been rumored to be the greatest Zappa tribute band has come to CD in the form of the Zappatistas: a group led by guitarist John Etheridge and keyboardist Steve Lodder. The group was formed for a one-off live performance calling on the best of the current British jazz community to participate, including Annie Whitehead (trombone) and Ben Castle (alto sax). The core of the pieces in this warts-and-all disc originate from Zappa’s late-60s and early-70s material. The set includes a blistering version of “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” where Etheridge gets to shred in a style previously not heard before. Castle gets to show what he’s made of while the rhythm section grooves away on “King Kong.” The brass section itself is very tight as they capture the raucous nature of the material. Maybe the best rendition from the nine tracks is “Big Swifty,” where the ensemble displays a genuine empathy for the composer’s often twisted, but rewarding pieces. Charts for the gigs were put together by Lodder and feature a brass section that Zappa himself or the Brecker Brothers could love. The most current piece is a cover of “I’m the Slime” from Overnite Sensation, which was popularized on the “Saturday Night Live” program. Taken as a whole, this was but one of a series of hot gigs for an ensemble that knows how to do it right and have fun doing it.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 25, 2001 releases

Related artist(s): Frank Zappa, John Etheridge, Zappatistas, Annie Whitehead

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
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

2019-03-03
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

2019-02-21
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


Previously in Exposé...

Lana Lane - Garden of the Moon – When one has to crank out fifty or sixty reviews per issue, you pretty much have to be listening to music at every possible opportunity, including hours spent at the so-called day job. Usually it's...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues