Discography-The Grand Wazoo

After the terrific artistic achievements of Jawaka's longer and jazzier songs, Frank came back to spread out on those ideas and The Grand Wazoo is the outcome. This album should be a part of the Hot Rats series and should be found after Waka/Jawaka since this is the big band type of that classic.. If "Waka / Jawaka" is "Hot Rats II" then this needs to be "Hot Rats III" correct? To renew your memories Frank was pushed off the stage and injured by an irate fan, and while recovering he composed "Waka / Jawaka" and "The Grand Wazoo".
The Grand Wazoo album

The album was the final release on Zappa's Bizarre Records label and could be discovered like "Le Grand Oiseau" in french (the big bird).It is not hard to listen to and easy to enjoy due to great playing and fun '70's grooves; an excellent place for fans discovering Zappa to get started.

Frank truly put in a sizable effort and hired a big band guest list to do this concept.

George Duke - Keyboards, Vocals
Don Preston - Bass, Keyboards, Moog Synthesizer
Sal Marquez - Bass, Trumpet, Vocals
Aynsley Dunbar - Guitar, Drums
Mike Altschul - Wind Woodwind
Billy Byers - Trombone
Joanne Caldwell McNabb - Bass, Vocals Wind, Brass Woodwind
Chunky - Vocals
Earl Dumler - Wind Woodwind
Tony Duran - Guitar
Alan Estes - Percussion
Frank Zappa - Guitar, Percussion, Arranger, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer
Janet Ferguson - Vocals
Tony Ortega - Wind Woodwind
Joel Peskin - Saxophone Woodwind
John Rotella - Percussion Woodwind
Kenny Shroyer - Trombone, Brass
Ernie Tack - Horn, Brass
Robert Zimmitti - Percussion
Fred Jackson, Jr. - Wind Woodwind

The vital difference between Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo is the increase in band size. Over 20 musicians and vocalists played a part in the creating of this album, which proves to energise the music itself, which isn’t different from that of the earlier record. The contributing artist list sees a lot more like a jazz chamber orchestra, as an alternative to a tight rock band line up. The crisp production, and the grand scale of the recording sessions are noticeable, therefore, The Grand Wazoo simply sounds delightful.

Musically there a pieces of everything here - each of types of music are mixed fantastically here. Take an example of the starting track "For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-hikers)". There are numerous instruments used here with this track. From the woodwind and brass section like trumpet, trombone, baritone, sax to electric guitar, everything is played proportionately. Many instruments perform along with individual chords and notes. The outcome is a music full of different kind of sounds.
The Grand Wazoo(song) is most likely the most experimental tune on the album. The second side begins with 'Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus' a quick Soul affected Funk track that prefigures 'Overnite Sensation', with Georg Duke playing honky tonk piano and a vocal duette by Zappa. "Eat That Question" is absolute highlight of the album, this song starts with some keyboard meandering and builds in intensity and instrumentation to a blistering climax, to end with a smart sort on the primary theme.

Track listing:

Side one
1. "For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers)"
2. "The Grand Wazoo"
Side two
3. "Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus"
4. "Eat That Question"
5. "Blessed Relief"
All songs written, composed and arranged by FZ.

The record exits with 'Blessed Relief' a chillout track with a pleasant relaxed athmosphere alternating solo and ensemble parts, featuring Sal Marquez on trumpet Duke on piano and Zappa on guitar.

As good as The Grand Wazoo is, this is not the type of album which you can love with just a cursory listen or two. To truly enjoy the disc, you almost need to lock it into continuous mode on your CD player, take a seat and actually listen to the recording. Even those well-schooled in all things Zappa may find it a bit harder to enter into this one, as it's just not as approachable as Hot Rats. In general, this can be one of Frank Zappa's greatest albums. The music is a mix of jazz (mostly), pop, and rock - played in big band style. Highly recommended.
Discography-The Grand Wazoo Discography-The Grand Wazoo Reviewed by Klemen Hlupič on 06:35 Rating: 5

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