Not just an album of interpretations, King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa was an active collaboration; Frank Zappa arranged all of the selections, played guitar on one, and contributed a new, nearly 20-minute orchestral composition for the occasion. Made in the wake of Ponty's appearance on Zappa's jazz-rock masterpiece Hot Rats, these 1969 recordings were significant developments in both musicians' careers. In terms of jazz-rock fusion, Zappa was one of the few musicians from the rock side of the equation who captured the complexity – not just the feel – of jazz, and this project was an indicator of his growing credibility as a composer. For Ponty's part, King Kong marked the first time he had recorded as a leader in a fusion-oriented milieu (though Zappa's brand of experimentalism didn't really foreshadow Ponty's own subsequent work).
This 1996 CD compilation was the first one put out privately by the Zappa family following Frank Zappa's death in 1993 from prostate cancer. The music includes three new versions of familiar Zappa works, followed bytheir better-known counterparts that have previously appeared on both LPs and CDs. As Dweezil Zappa explains in his liner notes, this previously unreleased excerpt from "Black Napkins" is not yet fully formed; oddly enough, like the version that follows from Zoot Allures, the Napoleon Murphy Brock sax solo has been edited out. The new version of the next instrumental, "Zoot Allures," fares better in comparison to the well-known take from the Zoot Allures CD, in spite of some distortion inadvertently added by the Tokyo PA system during its recording.
DIETMAR BONNEN: It starts in a time when I stopped my classical education and said: "Now I want to play in bands and improvise and play rock music". And then I've heard, for me, the first Zappa CD, "Apostrophe", and I was very impressed about the percussion parts and the parts that sounded like academic contemporary music, but played by rock musicians. And I said: "If they can do that I want to do that too". You can combine different styles.
Recorded live at the Jazz Open in Stuttgart in 1994, The Band from Utopia benefits from musicians fleet-fingered enough to replicate the late Frank Zappa’s intricate amalgams of jazz, rock, classical and r&b. Zappa, who died in 1992, was a prodigious musical talent and one of the few people to build musical bridges between rock and the more "serious" works of Stravinsky and Varese. If there’s a weakness in his music, however, it’s that instead of soul it has only a pervasively sarcastic quality.
With this subtly provocative solo recital, Ted Rosenthal merges three very different streams of piano history, putting his personal stamp on all of them. He pays homage to Bill Evans with "I Loves You Porgy," "Turn out the Stars," and "Waltz for Debby," playing the last in 5/4 but reverting to 4/4 only on his second solo chorus. The Bud Powell portion is more extensive, consisting of "Tempus Fugit," "Wail," "I'll Keep Loving You," "Celia," "Parisian Thoroughfare," and, in another 5/4 interpretation, the closing "Tea for Two." Last but not least, Rosenthal unveils his improvisational approach to Beethoven with the latter two movements of the "Pathetique" sonata, as well as the third movement of "Opus 109," which inspires a full nine minutes of spirited invention. In Rosenthal's hands all this music sounds as though it sprang from the same muse, and that's the sign of a skilled, imaginative artist.
Forget the smoky, blue and red stage light ambiance of the originals. Instead, imagine cowering in a corner while some half-animal half-human THING, bathed in black light and dripping with blood, shrieks while it tears the place apart searching for you. Xiu Xiu has brilliantly transformed Badalamenti's jazz flecked compositions into a true horror show. Think Trent Reznor, not Julee Cruise.
From the world-famous orchestra that brought you symphonic interpretations of Queen, Pink Floyd and ABBA comes a brand new set of studio recordings celebrating the music of Canadian Prog Rock legends, Rush! Includes dramatic reinterpretations of the Rush classics Tom Sawyer, The Spirit Of Radio, Red Barchetta, Limelight and more! Conducted by BAFTA award winning musician and composer Richard Harvey!