Frank Zappa

Threesome, Vol. 2

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    8
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Since it appears that Rykodisc and the Zappa Family Trust cannot reach an agreement about releasing material from Frank's vault, Rykodisc has resorted to repackaging the music they do have access to in order to keep Zappa on the retail radar. Ultimately, these efforts won't appeal to fans (except obsessive completists), because they already have everything, but instead they are aimed at ensnaring the curious consumer. To this end, the Threesome collections are well-thought-out: Take three albums that bear some sort of thematic resemblance and offer them at a midline price with newly created box artwork by the legendary Cal Schenkel. Threesome, Vol. 2 is also well-thought-out, but groups two of Frank's more overlooked albums (Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo) with Hot Rats, his jazz-rock tour de force. Hot Rats showed Zappa to be one of the finest guitar players around, while showcasing his writing and arranging skills. Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo (except for two short tracks on Waka/Jawaka) were Zappa's short-lived experiments with big-band jazz. Performed with a large ensemble made up of some of L.A.'s finest studio hired guns, these albums take the energy and drive of the Hot Rats material and wed them to incredible horn arrangements (Zappa never got enough credit as a dynamite arranger). This box set shows Frank Zappa at his absolute jazziest (great for non-purist jazz fans), as well as proving that there's way more to his talent than satire and dirty lyrics. [Note: This rating is based on the lack of new material. It does not reflect the quality of the albums themselves.]

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