Ed Palermo

Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance

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From his Mothers of Invention days onward, Frank Zappa often used jazzy multi-part arrangements that in some ways could have been regarded as avant-garde extensions of the big-band style. Of course, there was a lot of non-jazz involved in what Zappa composed and performed, and even his jazziest outings had some outrageous touches that would be found in few if any big-band arrangements from any era. It's to their credit, however, that the Ed Palermo Big Band recognize how adaptable some of Zappa's works are to the big-band format. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance puts eight of Zappa's compositions, spanning the late '60s to the 1980s, into a big-band context. Using almost 20 musicians, it sticks almost wholly to an instrumental approach, though Carl Restivo adds some vocals to "Mom and Dad/Oh No." Albums such as these -- not quite a tribute record, but pretty close -- are hard to peg as to who they'll appeal to; Zappa fans have the originals to compare these interpretations to, and big-band fans might find it too adventurous, or even strange. But the Ed Palermo Big Band achieve the difficult task of making Zappa's music more accessible in a way, and certainly give it more of a jazzy big-band swing, without selling out. These versions won't replace the originals as definitive statements, but they have a listenable breeziness that could work as an entry to the music for listeners who might be put off by the more jagged ugliness that Zappa was often wont to insert into his own renditions.

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