Zappa As Classical Composer


Strictly Genteel
Pedro's Dowry
Naval Aviation In art
Duke Of Prunes
Bogus Pomp
The inclusion of Frank on guitar, Dave Parlato on bass guitar and Terry Bozzio on drums makes Orchestral Favorites a good cross-over album for those who are familiar with Frank's Rock stuff and would like to get into something a little more heavy.

Genteel, Prunes and Pomp are fairly accessable, but Dowry and Aviation are a little more challenging and give you a good taste of a lot of Zappa's "classical" works.

If you are totally unfamiliar with the 20th century orchestral repertoire, some of this may come as a shock to you.

Then again, you may love it straight out of the box.



Sad Jane
Mo 'N Herb's Vacation I
Mo 'N Herb's Vacation II
Mo 'N Herb's Vacation III
Bogus Pomp
Read pages 145-156 of The Real Frank Zappa Book and you'll gain some insight into what Frank had to go through just to make the LSO sound slightly better than a group of amateurs.

If you can try to not be too critical of the sloppy performances throughout, you'll discover what is probably the cleanest recording ever made of a symphony orchestra.

Frank managed to coax (force?) some near surrealistic tones from the orchestra. If you have access to a good stereo and top-of-the-line headphones, you won't believe your ears.

Historically, this album is significant as being the first ever digital recording of an orchestra.



Bogus Pomp
Bob In Dacron
Strictly Genteel
Released as a "fuck you" to all the negative reviews of Jazz From Hell - calling the album "cold" and lacking "human element" - LSO II is filled with rhythmic un-coordination and showcases a drunk and out of tune horn section during Strictly genteel.

Frank applied every trick in the book to hide the slop (including 40-50 edits in the space of 6:53 for Genteel), but I wish he would have released this one warts and all.

I only have this one on cassette, so I tend to listen to it in the car while I'm driving. This could be why this is one of my favorite orchestral Zappas.

The current CD release bundles LSO I and LSO II together in a single package.



The Perfect Stranger
Naval Aviation In Art
The Girl In The Magnesium Dress
Dupree's Paradise
Love Story
Outside Now Again
Boasting performances only the tiniest bit more professional than the LSO sessions, The Perfect Stranger is billed as "chamber works performed by the Ensemble Intercontemporian and the Barking Pumpkin Digital Gratification Consort.

What this means to you is that three of these "preposterously non-modern" dance pieces are performed by a small orchestra (Stranger, Aviation and Dupree's Paradise) while the rest are the result of Frank's Synclavier manipulations.

Of the orchestral pieces, Dupree's Paradise has some of the most interesting instrumental combinations.

For my money, The Synclavier pieces are what make this album.

Although the synth patches used sound like the factory-preset variety, the compositions more than make up for the lack of aural sophistication.

This would be a good album to get if you are already a fan of Frank's orchestral works and are wanting to check out his Synclavier stuff.



Dog Breath Variations
Uncle Meat
Outrage At Valdez
Times Beach II
III Revised
The Girl In The Magnesium Dress
Be-Bop Tango
Ruth Is Sleeping
None Of The Above
Pentagon Afternoon
Questi Cazzi Di Piccione
Times Beach III
Food Gathering In Post-Industrial America, 1992
Welcome To The United States
Pound For A Brown
Exercise #4
Get Whitey
G-Spot Tornado
Without a doubt, The Yellow Shark is the tightest, most professional performance that Zappa ever managed to demand from a group of musicians.

As usual, Frank composed/arranged the pieces on this album around the abilities of the musicians. Consequently, there is some amazing music on this disk.

The fact that Frank got to hear his music performed by musicians of this caliber before he died makes me want to personally shake the hand of everyone who played on this recording. I just wish he would have had another 30 or 40 years to gloat about it.