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

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sarcasme - Mirage – Maybe I'm just a little dense, but I'm not sure how a band that's been around for 12 years can be called young and new, even if this is their first release. That being said, I will admit that the...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues