02 settembre 2019

E in tema di anniversari - in questo caso, il quarantesimo - giunge assai gradita la riedizione di lusso in cd e vinile dell'Orchestral Favorites che Frank Zappa vide pubblicato in malo modo nel 1979 nel pieno delle sue beghe contrattuali con la Warner Bros. Offre un accurato restauro sonoro dei nastri prodotti con l'Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra per l'album originale, l'intero concerto del 18 settembre 1975 all'UCLA’s Royce Hall di Los Angeles e altre sorprese, un libretto con la storia, le immagini, le annotazioni e i ricordi di alcuni protagonisti di allora...

In September 1975, in between trying out new band members and preparing for tour, Zappa scheduled an event at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Using his own budget with funds from the surprise hit single Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow, he hired a roughly 37-piece orchestra with the intention to hear his orchestral music played. As Travers details in the liner notes, “Frank supervised everything, hired sound and lights, mixed the front of house sound at times, conducted the orchestra on occasion, and played guitar with them. The program repertoire consisted of complex and challenging music that originates from all time frames of FZ’s career. Older themes that predate the original Mothers Of Invention, to brand new pieces hot off the pen, mixed in with some good ol’ FZ directed improvisation.”
The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Michael Zearott and made up of various live and studio musicians, most of which who had previously worked with Zappa on one of his many projects. They were assembled with the help of Mike Altschul and Earle Dumler who played on The Grand Wazoo and Waka/Jawaka albums. Other familiar names included: Bruce Fowler, Dave Parlato, Ian Underwood, Malcom McNab and Terry Bozzio. Zappa and the orchestra rehearsed for several days, had an afternoon recording session and performed two shows in two nights.
Zappa re-worked Orchestral Favorites for CD in 1991 and it has subsequently been reissued several times after his death but with the new master finally matched to the project tone reel, this is the first time the album has ever been presented how the late, great artist intended. Sounding better than it ever has, fans can enjoy this special and historical event in Zappa history in a new way, with the Royce Hall performances sounding as fresh as they did 44 years ago.