Frank Zappa

Joe's Domage

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After being thrown 15 feet off of the Rainbow Theater stage in London on December 10, 1971 by unstable concert attendee Trevor Howell, Frank Zappa spent the better part of the following winter and spring in rehearsals for what would become the Waka/Jawaka (1972) and Grand Wazoo (1972) platters and related live shows. Joe's Domage (2004) -- the second in a series of never-before-available material from the luminous Frank Zappa tape vaults -- gathers 50 minutes from these closed-door sessions, during which Zappa was confined to a wheelchair as he recuperated. The incident left the guitarist with some permanent damage, with a lower voice from a partially crushed larynx, and a fractured right leg which ended up shorter than the left, as referenced in the lyrics of "Zomby Woof" and "Dancin' Fool." Being off the road resulted in some of the Zappa's most involved fusions of jazz and rock. These rehearsals were most likely not meant for public consumption, having been sonically remastered from a decidedly lo-fi cassette. For all intents and purposes, this is an examination of the modular process that Zappa used when creating his extended works and intricately detailed compositions, including contributions from an impressive lineup of Zappa (guitar/spoken instructions), Tony Duran (guitar), Ian Underwood (organ), Sal Marquez (trumpet), Malcolm McNabb (trumpet), Kenny Shroyer (trombone), Tony Ortega (baritone sax), Aynsley Dunbar (drums) and Alex Dmochowski (bass) -- the latter often credited under the pseudonym Erroneous. Granted, the fidelity is distorted and typical of what a cassette from 1972 might sound like. However, tucked into the otherwise grungy audio and the incessant start/stop methodology of these preliminary run-throughs, Zappa's hands-on involvement becomes exceedingly evident to the lay person. He methodically teaches his highly advanced rhythms and time signatures with a definite and well-thought-out sense of the bigger picture. Fragments and in-progress snippets of "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary," "Big Swifty," "It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal," "Blessed Relief," "Grand Wazoo" [aka "Think It Over"] and an "Interlude" that Zappaphiles refer to as "Twinkle Tits" are among the songs that would eventually surface from the music heard here in their primordial forms.

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