Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
John S. Ryan | Silver Lake, OH | 12/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe you think listening to Frank Zappa for the music is like reading Playboy for the articles. If so, Ed Palermo wants to change your mind.
Palermo has set his big band (helpfully named "The Ed Palermo Big Band") the onerous task of playing some of FZ's instrumental music, which he wanted them to do because he has been a fan of FZ's for about three decades and desired to pay tribute to his longtime hero.
And boy, did he and they do a helluva good job. This isn't just a limp little set of copycat cover material; this is _big band_ music. _Really good_ big band music, with fresh, funky arrangements by Palermo himself. The real thing -- there are, like, horns and vibes and stuff all over it.
And these guys can _cook_. I won't single out any highlights for you; the album is full of them.
Palermo's selections are right on, his interpretations are original but entirely true to the Spirit of Frankness, his two decades with his band show in the precision-honed performances, and his sheer joy in FZ's music is obvious -- from the opening blast of the most buttkicking version of "Peaches En Regalia" since the tune's original release on HOT RATS, all the way to the closing number, "wai,fn?" (This last is an FZ-inspired composition by Palermo himself; all the other tunes are FZ's. I think "wai,fn?" must be an acronym for something, but I haven't yet figured out what. My best guess so far: "What am I, fopped niver?" [Note added later: the band's manager kindly dropped me a line and let me know that it stands for 'What am I, f***ing nuts?'])
And he must have worked his longsuffering band pretty hard, because they absolutely nailed it (not an easy job, as the London Symphony Orchestra can confirm). As Palermo writes in his liner notes, "The musicians in my band are of such high, virtuosic caliber that it is an honor for me to exploit them."
FZ fans will _really_ like this extremely cool CD. Actually, so will fans of big-band music. Now that I think about it, so will just about everybody else. If you've read this far, _buy_ this thang and make a jazz noise here."
For true FZ afficionados, this is great jazz.
John Allen | 08/23/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Read the liner notes for this album and you understand why Ed Palermo plays Frank Zappa's music with passion and reverence. This guy just loves Zappa's music, and respectfully chooses and arranges some of the older, and less commercial, standards for classic "small" big band play. And the members of the band are incredible! But Ed Palermo on sax and guitar is the leader and the soul for these pieces. Peaches En Regalia has never sounded so tight, and Palermo's guitar work on Aybe Sea is so reminiscent of Zappa's guitar that I cried (quietly to myself). I wish Ed would do another album, because I just can't get enough of this guy's interpretations of Zappa's music. I realize it must be difficult for a musician as talented as Palermo to play other people's music, even that of Zappa, but these arrangements are so creative and personal that they are a fusion of Zappa and Palermo. Enough! If you think that Hots Rats was one of the most inspired albums of ALL TIME, then get this album because you won't be dissappointed. If you love modern, tight, small big band sound, then get this album. And if you want something to show off the '000s of dollars you've spent on your audio system, then get this ablum. Recording=***** Performance=*****"
This album is not just for Zappaphiles!
Fred Neurohr | Cincinnati (by way of NYC) | 03/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a wonderful gift Ed and his dedicated band have given us. I was too young to see FZ live, and I am a regular at Ed's shows at the Bottom Line in New York.This record features great arrangements of Zappa classics; their version of "Sofa #1" brought tears to my eyes. These guys are wonderful, and this CD is too. I've heard before that Zappa's music can be less than accessible (I suppose it is to some), but this is a very engaging and endearing collection that not only every Zappa lover should own, but every Jazz lover too. Thank you, Ed and crew ... see you at the Bottom Line!"