FRANK ZAPPA – ” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ” 5LP Box Set

Posted: November 29, 2020 in MUSIC
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With unfettered access to the Zappa Trust and all archival footage, “Zappa” explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time. Alex Winter’s assembly features appearances by Frank’s widow Gail Zappa and several of Frank’s musical collaborators including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and others. The soundtrack is a perfect complement to the film available as a limited edition 5-LP 180-gram smoke color vinyl set for the Zappa completist. Showcasing 69 total songs, there are 12 previously unreleased recordings from the Zappa archive along with his 1978 Saturday Night Live performance; 24 additional Zappa songs from his extensive catalogue spanning four decades; songs from Zappa’s labels Straight / Bizarre Records like “No Longer Umpire” by Alice Cooper and “The Captain’s Fat Theresa Shoes” by The GTO’s; 2 classical compositions by Edgard Varese and Igor Stravinsky; and 26 Original Score cues newly composed by John Frizzell for the documentary – all of which give the universe a sonic exploration into the musical brilliance of Frank Zappa.

The music in “Zappa” spans the composer’s entire career, including psychedelic rock, jazz and classical experiments — beginning with several cuts from his 1966 debut with the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out, to the last recording released in his lifetime, 1993’s The Yellow Shark. It contains 12 tracks that have never been commercially released — including three selections from a June 1968 concert at the Whisky A Go-Go, his 1978 performance of “Dancin’ Fool” on Saturday Night Live and several interview clips — along with two songs originally released on Zappa’s labels. 

For Zappa, Winter received full access to the Zappa Trust. He interviewed several musicians who worked with Zappa, including Steve Vai, Mike Keneally and Ian Underwood, as well as Zappa’s widow Gail, who died in 2015. You can see the trailer below and stream the movie from its official website.

Frank Zappa’s story is not a predictable arc of youthful talent and enthusiasm blossoming into commercial success and critical acclaim followed by a long, boring afterlife. Frank began composing as a teenager after hearing the rhythmically iconoclastic sounds of Edgard Varèse, and well before picking up a guitar. In 1965, he formed the Mothers of Invention to support his composing habit. According to Paul McCartney, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was directly inspired by the Mothers’ debut album, Freak Out!, which would have been rock’s first double album if a different variety of freak out, Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, hadn’t arrived a week earlier. Have I mentioned that ZAPPA devotes surprisingly little screen time to Frank onstage with his various Mothers iterations? There are snippets galore, but don’t stream this movie expecting previously unheard guitar magnificence or comedy-rock tomfoolery. Winter points out that you can easily find that sort of thing elsewhere, and that’s definitely not the crux of this cinematic biscuit.

A triple-CD companion soundtrack, meanwhile, delivers oodles of complete tracks along with composer John Frizzell’s unexpectedly discreet and complementary score for the film. Universal is accepting orders for the physical set, which will be available next year as three-CD or five-LP formats (black or smoke vinyl), along with a 21-track compilation that will be sold digitally and on clear vinyl.

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