Frank Zappa Listening Session 1: It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal – Waka/Jawaka

Posted: January 12, 2013 in music, Song Clip, Uncategorized, vinyl, Zappa
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Waka/Jawaka  –  Frank Zappa   1972  Bizaare Records(Blue Label)

Disclaimer: There is nothing I’d rather listen to on vinyl thank Frank Zappa albums. They are always recorded, mixed and mastered impeccably, written and played with meticulous attention to detail, wildly creative and packaged with great artwork(most of the time). If I am lucky enough to track down a mint pressing, there is no better treat for my turntable than Frank’s bizarre offerings. Now, on with the review…

082Waka/Jawaka comes from the peak of Frank’s early to mid seventies “Jazz-Fusion” period. He would take to the studio(and even the road) with huge orchestras to play incredibly complex and original works that sounded like nothing else. This record has two epic tracks that push the musicians while remaining tuneful and fun. The title track has an almost lounge scumbag feel but upon closer listening, one is struck but the interweaving of instruments that form chords. For example,  when someone holds a chord on a guitar, there is a very limited depth to the note, a limited tone color. However, when a composer like Frank writes for an orchestra, he can have 5 instruments play separate notes at the same time to build one chord, giving it a huge body. The results are amazing. Taking that into consideration, it makes the interplay between the musicians that much more impressive. They have to be so exact and so in synch. It’s mind-blowing.

085My Favorite here is Big Swifty, an epic that opens in a fast 7/8 riff, then continues to alternate between 7/8 and 6/8 times, and eventually making it’s way to a 4/4 swing time signature. The song is manipulated even more live(but that is for another review). Sitting and listening to this on a good turntable with a solid amp/pre-amp and quality speakers is like being in the orchestra pit. This is due to Frank’s incredible recording style (he is know to take days getting mic placement right for the orchestra). The pressing I have is great as well, so I was in, well not heaven(even if it did exist, doesn’t seem like a place I’d enjoy too much), but I was transported to a place in my mind that was very nice, warm and fuzzy. Frank is a God. Simple.

Big Swifty (In Two Parts)



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