The Band from Utopia — A Tribute to the Music of Frank Zappa
(Muffin MRP020, 1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01
What we have here is basically a romp down memory lane by the members (mostly) of Frank Zappa's 1988 touring band ("Make a Jazz Noise Here", "The Best Band You've Never Seen in Your Life"), an all-in-good-fun tribute to the music of the man himself, just the way he would have wanted it. And who better to pull this off than the guys who spent night after night playing these tunes during the 80s: Tommy Mars, Ed Mann, Ike Willis, Chad Wackerman, Arthur Barrow, Bruce and Tom Fowler, Kurt McGettrick, Robert Martin... The entire event was recorded live at The Jazz Open Festival at Stuttgart, Germany, in July 1994. As one might expect – with this lineup especially – the sound and overall approach proximates the real thing, and although initially Zappa's guitar and voice are noticeably absent, one has to agree his spirit is alive and present. They take on many of the classics: "Take Your Clothes off When You Dance," "City of Tiny Lights," "Zomby Woof," and twelve others. No "Whipping Post" though; oh well, you can't expect everything in a single one hour performance. This one's a must-have for all fans of Zappa's music.
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more