Jazz from Hell

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Jazz from Hell
Studio album by Frank Zappa
Released November 15, 1986
Recorded 1985–1986 at UMRK (except "St. Etienne", 1982 at Palais des Sports, St. Etienne, France)
Genre Computer music, jazz fusion
Length 34:26
Label Barking Pumpkin
Producer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
The Old Masters Box II
(1986)
Jazz from Hell
(1986)
London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. II
(1987)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[2]

Jazz from Hell is a Grammy Award–winning instrumental album from Frank Zappa. It was released in 1986 by Barking Pumpkin Records (vinyl) and by Rykodisc (CD).

Album information[edit]

All compositions were executed by Frank Zappa on the Synclavier DMS with the exception of "St. Etienne", a guitar solo excerpted from a live performance of "Drowning Witch" from a concert in Saint-Étienne, France on Zappa's 1982 tour.

"While You Were Art II" is a Synclavier performance based on a transcription of Zappa's improvised guitar solo on the track "While You Were Out" from the Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar album. The unreleased original Synclavier performance was done using only the unit's FM synthesis, while the recording found here was Zappa's "deluxe" arrangement featuring newer samples and timbres.

"Night School" was possibly named for a late-night show that Zappa pitched to ABC; the network did not pick it up. A music video was made for the song.

"G-Spot Tornado", assumed by Zappa to be impossible to play by humans, would be performed by Ensemble Modern on the concert recording The Yellow Shark.

Releases[edit]

In the initial Europe CD release, the album was featured as the second album on a "two for the price of one compilation," with nine tracks from Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention on the same disc.

Awards[edit]

Zappa won a 1988 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for this album.

Controversy[edit]

Although this is an instrumental album, there is an unconfirmed report that the Fred Meyer chain of stores sold Jazz from Hell in their Music Market department featuring an RIAA Parental Advisory sticker. This could have been the result of Zappa's feud with the PMRC, an objection to the use of the word "hell" in the album title, or in reference to the track "G-Spot Tornado", describing the sexual area in human anatomy commonly known as the G-Spot.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions written and arranged by Frank Zappa.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Night School"   4:47
2. "The Beltway Bandits"   3:25
3. "While You Were Art II"   7:17
4. "Jazz from Hell"   2:58
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "G-Spot Tornado"   3:17
6. "Damp Ankles"   3:45
7. "St. Etienne"   6:26
8. "Massaggio Galore"   2:31

Personnel[edit]

Musicians
Technical personnel
  • Greg Gorman – cover photo
  • Bob Rice – computer assistant
  • Bob Stone – engineering

References[edit]

  1. ^ Planer, L. (2011). "Jazz from Hell - Frank Zappa | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Fricke, D. (2011). "Frank Zappa: Jazz From Hell : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". web.archive.org. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Nuzum, Eric. "Censorship Incidents: 1980s". Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America. Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2010-10-02.