Zappatistas — Absolutely Live
(Jazzprint JPVP 122CD, 2001, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2002-09-01
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.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more