The Music Of Frank Zappa (Phase One)

FZ
Here’s a small collection of tributes to Frank Zappa, from classical & jazz ensembles to gatherings of former members (even FZ’s own tribute to himself, featuring Jean-Luc Ponty). Zappa’s fans have long enjoyed outside interpretations of Frank’s work, largely because Frank himself continually rearranged & reinvented his own music from the start. We’ve been adding to this list for the last few years and have just upgraded everything (that we physically had) to 320. Click the covers to find these oddities at Amazon (when available). This post was getting so big we had to start a Phase Two (HERE). Track Lists In Comments.

THE BAND FROM UTOPIA
A Tribute To The Music Of Frank Zappa (1995)
A 1994 live recording featuring a slew of Zappa alumni; Ike Willis, Chad Wackerman, Arthur Barrow, Tommy Mars, Bobby Martin, Ed Mann, Bruce & Tom Fowler & others. As you’d expect… this is pretty authentic. Hear “The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque.”

ENSEMBLE AMBROSIUS
The Zappa Album (2000)
A Finnish ensemble tackling Zappa’s music using only baroque-era instruments (cello, violin, oboe, harpsichord, dulcimer, and chamber organ). Well done and certainly a unique take. Thanks to Plop for the 320 upgrade. Hear “Alien Orifice.”

ENSEMBLE MODERN
Greggery Peccary/Other Persuasions (2002)
Best known as the ensemble that worked with Frank in his final years on The Yellow Shark and Everything Is Healing Nicely. Certainly the Master’s favorite ensemble collaborators. Listen to a highly animated version of “Moggio.”

HARMONIA ENSEMBLE
Harmonia Meets Zappa (1994)
An Italian ensemble that approaches Zappa from various points of view. Classically based, with plenty of woodwinds, cellos and piano, Harmonia jets across Zappa’s varied styles. Harmonia’s solo piano take on “What’s New in Baltimore?” is a treat.

LeBOCAL
Oh No!… Just Another Frank Zappa Memorial Barbecue (2004)
A cool, brassy jazz outfit, largely instrumental, with some fun vocal tracks. There’s expected jazz stuff (“Little Umbrellas,” “Blessed Relief”) and some unexpected stuff, like “The Air,” which you can hear below. (@192)

LE CONCERT IMPROMPTU & BOSSINI
Prophetic Attitude (1997)
A French wind quintet (bassoon, horn, clarinet, oboe & flute) founded in 1989 that focuses largely on Frank’s late 60s and early 70s material to good effect. Actually kind of sophisticated, in an “eye brow” sort of way. Listen to “Strictly Genteel.”

MERIDIAN ARTS ENSEMBLE BRASS QUINTET
Prime Meridian (1993)
Smart Went Crazy (1995)
Sorry… cheated on this one a bit. These cuts are from two different CDs by the Meridian Arts Ensemble Brass Quintet, who covered Frank’s music on each of these releases (along with the works of Stravinsky, Strayhorn, Hendrix, Beefheart, London and many others). This download is just the Zappa material bundled together. The track list is in Comments. Click to give a listen to “Dupree’s Paradise” from Smart Went Crazy.

THE MUFFIN MEN featuring Ike Willis
Mulm (1995)
The Muffin Men are a great listen. With one of FZ’s most recognizable voices, Ike Willis, singing lead, this stuff is real faithful to Zappa’s originals. The group has released other FZ tribs over the years and this is one of the best. Hear “Mr. Green Genes.”

THE MUFFIN MEN
Frankincense: The Muffin Men Play Zappa (1998)
Another excellent Muffin Men release, this one featuring a recording of Mothers’ drummer Jimmy Carl Black telling a story (over a “King Kong” jam) about a live gig when the Mothers were showered with eggs and pears by the radical SDS. Listen to “Transylvania Boogie.” (@192)

OMNIBUS WIND ENSEMBLE
Music By Frank Zappa (1995)
A Swedish wind ensemble that sometimes swings with a jazz vibe across many of Zappa’s disparate styles. They’re not afraid to tackle “Revised Music For A Low Budget Orchestra” or “Inca Roads.” Hear their version of “Sinister Footwear, 2nd Movement.”

THE ED PALERMO BIG BAND
Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa (1997)
A blistering jazz ensemble fronted by former Zappa alto saxophonist Ed Palermo. Great material and some stellar big band/jazz arrangements. Guitarist Mike Keneally, another ex-alumni, guests. Listen to “King Kong.”

THE ED PALERMO BIG BAND
Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (2006)
Another in a series of excellent CDs featuring jazz takes on Frank’s music from former member Ed Palermo. There’s some fantastic arranging and playing on this one that should please FZ fans. Listen to “Pound For A Brown On The Bus.”

THE PERSUASIONS
Frankly A Cappella (2000)
No introduction needed. The world’s premier a cappella group (who were first signed to Zappa’s Straight label back in the 60s), handling Frank’s complicated doo-wop with ease. Hear “Electric Aunt Jemima.”

JEAN-LUC PONTY
King Kong (1969)
This should be considered an official FZ LP, as Frank writes, arranges & produces various Mothers. Was FZ looking to avoid another Lumpy Gravy legal fiasco by using one time cohort, electric violinist Ponty as a front? Listen to “The Idiot Bastard’s Son.”

ABIGAIL SIN
Plays Frank Zappa (2006)
Curious, surely illegitimate, live recording from child prodigy Abigail Sin, subtitled “Five Pieces For Treated Piano and Modulator.” We wonder what the audience is laughing about during “RDNZL.” Hear her school assembly version of “Let’s Make The Water Turn Black.”

UMO JAZZ ORCHESTRA Feat. Marzi Nyman
UMO Plays Frank Zappa (2004)
Rare 17 minute magazine freebie featuring guitarist Marzi Nyman with arrangements by Ed Palermo. “Peaches En Regalia,” “The Idiot Bastard’s Son,” “King Kong” & “Sofa,” which you can hear below. (@175VBR)

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Zappa’s Universe (1993)
Released during Frank’s lifetime, this is a live gathering of alumni spearheaded by guitarist Mike Keneally & bassist Scott Thunes, who anchored Frank’s last touring group. Guests include The Persuasions, Steve Vai, Dale Bozzio and Dweezil Zappa. Hear “Heavenly Bank Account.”

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Unmatched: Tributo A Zappa (1996)
Performed by largely Spanish/Latin musicians and spearheaded by longstanding Zappahead, Caballero Reynaldo. This is the first of thirteen volumes of Unmatched, all with a vast array of bands tackling Frank’s work, and all tough to find (read more here). Hear Reynaldo’s “Lumpy Gravy.”

5 Comments

  • 1
    Willard
    June 20, 2011 - 10:34 | Permalink

    Sorry, we lost all our comments on this one…
    Also…

    Always try Mediafire links a few times. They sometimes give false negatives.

    Search HERE

    THE BAND FROM UTOPIA
    Chunga’s Revenge
    Ain’t Got No Heart
    Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
    What’s The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?
    Mother People
    Help I’m A Rock
    The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque
    City Of Tiny Lights
    Pound For A Brown
    I’m A Beautiful Guy
    The Bebop Tango
    Yo Cats
    Zomby Woof
    Sofa
    Andy

    ENSEMBLE AMBROSIUS
    Night School
    Sofa
    Black Page #2
    Uncle Meat
    Igor’s Boogie
    Zoot Allures
    Big Swifty
    T’Mershi Duween
    Alien Orifice
    The Idiot Bastard Son
    RDNZL
    The Orange County Lumber Truck
    Echidna’s Arf (of You)
    Inca Roads
    G-Spot Tornado

    ENSEMBLE MODERN
    Moggio
    What Will Rumi Do?
    Night School
    Revised Music For Low Budget Orchestra
    The Beltway Bandits
    A Pig With Wings
    Put A Motor In Yourself
    Peaches En Regalia
    Naval Aviation In Art?
    The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary

    HARMONIA ENSEMBLE
    Intro To Music For Low Budget Orchestra
    Hungry Freaks, Daddy
    Peaches En Regalia
    What’s New In Baltimore?
    Son Of Mr. Green Genes
    Barking Playful Sandwich (T’Mershi Duween/Igor’s Boogie, Phase 4/Aerobics In Bondage/Lumpy Gravy)
    Luna
    Little Beige Sambo
    Code 32
    Goggle 2
    Iudixio
    A Frank Lesson
    Waka/Jawaka
    What’s New In Baltimore? (Theme)

    LEBOCAL
    Oh No! (Instrumental)
    Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
    King Kong
    The Idiot Bastard Son
    Little Umbrellas
    The Air
    The Grand Wazoo
    The Duke Of Prunes
    Blessed Relief
    Mr. Green Genes
    Oh No! (Vocal)

    LE CONCERT IMPROMPTU & BOSSINI
    Blessed Relief
    Twenty Small Cigars
    A Pound for a Brown
    Uncle Meat
    Strictly Genteel
    Wind Quintet
    Cletus Awreetus-Alwrightus
    King Kong
    Duke of Prunes
    Peaches en Regalia
    The Black Page
    Number 6
    Mr. Green Genes
    The Idiot Bastard Son
    Sofa
    Outside Now Again

    MERIDIAN ARTS ENSEMBLE BRASS QUINTET
    Big Swifty (Smart Went Crazy)
    Harry, You’re A Beast (Smart Went Crazy)
    The Orange County (Smart Went Crazy)
    T’Mershi Duween (Smart Went Crazy)
    Dupree’s Paradise (Smart Went Crazy)
    Peaches En Regalia (Prime Meridian)
    Let’s Make The Water Turn Black (Prime Meridian)
    Oh No (Prime Meridian)
    Igor’s Boogie (Prime Meridian)
    Eat That Question (Prime Meridian)
    Echidna’s Arf (Prime Meridian)

    THE MUFFIN MEN Featuring Ike Willis
    Mr. Green Genes
    Easy Meat
    Cletus Awreetus Awrightus
    Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up
    Heavy Duty Judy
    I’m The Slime
    Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy
    Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?
    Baboozled By Love
    Pick Me I’m Clean
    Outside Now
    Camarillo Brillo
    Muffin Man

    THE MUFFIN MEN Frankincense
    Intro
    Jones Crusher
    Chunga’s Revenge
    Tryin’ To Grow A Chin
    Uncle Meat Phase One
    Transylvania Boogie
    If Nine Was Six
    That’s A Nice Jumper
    Transylvania Boogie (Reprise)
    Uncle Meat Phase Two
    San Bern’dino
    King Kong
    Uncle Meat Phase Three
    City Of Tiny Lights
    I Ain’t Got No Heart
    Absolutely Free
    King Kong Itself
    The Green Pear Trip
    King Kong (As Waco Sees It)
    Piano Introduction To Little House I Used To Live In (Revised)
    Outro

    OMNIBUS WIND ENSEMBLE
    Inca Roads
    How Could I Be Such A Fool
    Revised Music For A Low Budget Orchestra
    Let’s Make The Water Turn Black
    The Black Page #2
    No. 7
    Igor’s Boogie
    Be-Bop Tango
    Alien Orifice
    Dog Breath Variations
    Uncle Meat
    Sinister Footwear, 2nd Movement
    Brown Shoes Don’t Make It
    Peaches En Regalia
    Bolero

    THE ED PALERMO BIG BAND Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa
    Peaches En Regalia
    Toads of the Short Forest
    Who Are the Brain Police?/Holiday in Berlin (Excerpt)
    Twenty Small Cigars
    King Kong
    Aybe Sea
    Waka Jawaka
    Sofa #1
    The Little House I Used to Live In
    We Are Not Alone
    Wai,Fn?

    THE ED PALERMO BIG BAND Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
    RDNZL
    Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
    Dwarf nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula
    Pound For A Brown On The Bus
    Sleep Dirt
    The Gumbo Variations
    Mon And Dad/Oh No!
    Moggio

    THE PERSUASIONS
    Lumpy Gravy
    Any Way The Wind Blows
    Electric Aunt Jemima
    The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing
    Interlude
    Cheap Thrills
    Hotplate Heaven At The Green Hotel
    Love Of My Life
    You Are What You Is
    Interlude 2
    Harder Than Your Husband
    Find Her Finer
    Interlude 3
    My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama
    Tears Begin To Fall / Mystery Track

    JEAN-LUC PONTY
    King Kong
    Idiot Bastard Son
    Twenty Small Cigars
    How Would You Like To Have A Head Like That
    Music For Electric Violin And Low Budget Orchestra
    America Drinks And Goes Home

    ABIGAIL SIN
    Let’s Make The Water Turn Black
    Oh No!
    King Kong
    RDNZL
    Peaches En Regalia

    UMO JAZZ ORCHESTRA Feat. Marzi Nyman
    Peaches En Regalia
    The Idiot Bastard’s Son
    Sofa
    King Kong

    ZAPPA’S UNIVERSE
    Elvis Has Just Left The Building
    Brown Shoes Don’t Make It
    Jazz Discharge Party Hats
    Inca Roads
    Moggio
    Nite School
    Echinda’s Arf (Of You)
    Hungry Freaks, Daddy
    Heavenly Bank Account
    The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing
    Waka Jawaka (Edit)
    Sofa
    Dirty Love
    Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel

    VARIOUS ARTISTS – UNMATCHED: TRIBUTO A ZAPPA
    THE TEA SERVANTS – Let’s Make The Water Turn Black
    MIL DOLORES PEQUENOS – Willie The Pimp
    CABALLERO REYNALDO – Lumpy Gravy
    JONI KONTROL BAND – I’m The Slime
    THE DREAMLOVERS – The Duke Of Prunes
    AMOR SUCIO – Dirty Love
    LITTLE FISH – Village Of The Sun
    LA MANO IZQUIERDA – Help, I’m A Rock
    LOS BRUJOS – Any Way The Wind Blows
    MALCOM SCARPA – Twenty Small Cigars
    BUSTAMANTE – Camarillo Brillo
    SINIESTRO TOTAL – Camarillo Brillo/Stick It Out
    EL NIÑO GUSANO – Baby Snakes
    LOS MARAÑONES – My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama
    GUISANTE – Inca Roads/Harder Than Your Husband

  • 2
    Kwai Chang
    July 26, 2012 - 10:16 | Permalink

    Does anyone know about the picture at the top? What is that big poster of Pretties For You (Alice Cooper’s debut) on Franks wall? Did the band borrow that for the cover?
    Maybe it’s the original painting(?)
    (I’m a trivia insomniac…thur.7:15am)

    • 3
      Willard
      July 26, 2012 - 10:47 | Permalink

      The original painting. At Frank’s parent’s house.

      • 4
        Pet
        June 12, 2014 - 16:38 | Permalink

        It’s Frank’s house… his parents weren’t quite as artistic…

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