small red discs in a black box

The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life is one of the most gigantic live records by Frank Zappa: recorded between February and June 1988, and first released just in 1991, is one of those curious works that can bragging about being able to keep the listener attentive for more than one hundred and thirty minutes, huge and multifaceted.

Beyond the joke of the title, I consider that this album is one of the best Zappa bands. It may not live up to the refreshing, breakthrough freshness of the early Mothers of Invention, or the super-fusion machine of the '73 / '74 period, but it does seem to me that Frank had not played with a vital and stimulating as this. With musicians like Bruce Fowler, Chad Wackerman, Ike Willis, Scott Thunes and Ray White, there is no doubt that Zappa could indulge in doing whatever he wanted. In fact, this is just one of the three albums recorded during this '88 tour: Broadway the Hard Way and Make a Jazz Noise Here are the other two. Both, though wonderful and overflowing with music, do not present such a wide and risky panorama of Frank's universe as this.

Songwriter extraordinaire Sir Paul Mc Cartney returned to his hometown Liverpool at the close of his exhaustive world tour
Songwriter extraordinaire Sir Paul Mc Cartney returned to his hometown Liverpool at the close of his exhaustive world tour

With a particularly strong presence of winds (there are saxs, trumpets, clarinets and trombones to up) and an extraordinary jazz swing, in The Best Band ... the set traverses impressive subjects of the repertoire zappeano (The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue, The Torture Never Stops, Cosmik Debris, Who Needs the Peace Corps and so many etceteras) and numerous (from Purple Haze to Maurice Ravel's Boléro, to Sunshine of Your Love, Bonanza and Godfather II, and Reggae versions of Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash and Stairway to Heaven), correctly deformed, in style times in intention, to adapt them to the possibilities of such a grouping and the sarcasm of-for those days almost fifty-mustachioed.

More news: Exclusive interview with Gloria Trevi: For Everyone

  • Adam Floyd