The Grand Wazoo

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The Grand Wazoo
Studio album by The Mothers
Released December 1972
Recorded Paramount Studios, Hollywood, April May, 1972
Genre Big band, jazz fusion, progressive rock
Length 37:05
Label Bizarre/Reprise
Producer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
Waka/Jawaka
(1972)
The Grand Wazoo
(1972)
Over-Nite Sensation
(1973)
The Mothers chronology
Just Another Band from L.A.
(1972)
The Grand Wazoo
(1972)
Over-Nite Sensation
(1973)
Singles from The Grand Wazoo
  1. "Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus"
    Released: 1972
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]

The Grand Wazoo is a 1972 jazz fusion album by Frank Zappa and The Mothers. Composed and recorded during Zappa's period of convalescence following his assault in London, the album, along with its predecessor album, Waka/Jawaka (July 1972), represent Zappa's foray into big band fusion, the logical progression from Hot Rats (1969), which used a much smaller lineup. The album was the last release on Zappa's Bizarre Records label.

Recording and production[edit]

The Grand Wazoo, followed three albums consisting largely of instrumental pieces: Hot Rats (1969), Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970), and Waka/Jawaka (July 1972).

The instrumental makeup of The Grand Wazoo is big band. It was the third album released in a period where Zappa used a wheelchair and was unable to tour after being assaulted and pushed offstage into an orchestra pit during a London concert.

Zappa was also producer and principal composer for Jean-Luc Ponty's album King Kong (1970) during this period.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written, composed and arranged by Frank Zappa.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers)"   6:06
2. "The Grand Wazoo"   13:20
Side two
No. Title Length
3. "Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus"   2:57
4. "Eat That Question"   6:42
5. "Blessed Relief"   8:00
1995 Ryko remaster
No. Title Length
1. "The Grand Wazoo"   13:20
2. "For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers)"   6:06
3. "Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus"   2:57
4. "Eat That Question"   6:43
5. "Blessed Relief"   7:59

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel
  • Ernie Watts – tenor saxophone, C Melody Saxophone (the "Mystery Horn") solo on "Cletus Awreetus Awrightus", woodwinds
  • Lee Clement – percussion

Production[edit]

  • Producer: Frank Zappa
  • Engineer: Kerry McNabb
  • Arranger: Frank Zappa
  • Special assistance: Paul Hof
  • Photography: Ed Caraeff, Tony Esparza
  • Cover illustration: Cal Schenkel
  • Spiritual advisor: Kenny Shroyer
  • Contractor: Kenny Shroyer

Eat That Question[edit]

"Eat That Question" features George Duke's piano playing and the recording of the Fender Rhodes electric piano in a novel way. Most recordings of the instrument prior to "Eat That Question" were not of comparable sonic quality or production value as Duke's performance on the piece.

The track is a vehicle for George Duke's electric piano and begins with a rubato intro followed by the entrance of the full rhythm section in time. On this and several other tracks Zappa plays a flat top acoustic/electric guitar using a wah-wah pedal and a Maestro phase shifter or Leslie speaker for a chorale effect. The Barcus-Berry transducer used was at the time a novel way of amplifying the instrument instead of using a traditional magnetic guitar pickup.

In this same period in analog recording the number of tracks available was expanding. Multi-track recording was changing rapidly with "sound on sound" being supplanted by "sound with sound" tape technology.

Hot Rats (1969) had been released a few years prior to The Grand Wazoo (1972) and was recorded on one of the first 16 track tape machines. It featured multiple tracks of clarinets, flutes, saxophones, piano and organ parts played by a single musician, Ian Underwood. At the time of "Grand Wazoo" the compositions were arranged for large ensembles which were conceived as studio recording vehicles, rather than live, touring bands.

The Zappa Plays Zappa (led by Dweezil Zappa, the eldest son of Frank Zappa) tours since 2006 regularly have featured "Eat That Question". with the song serving as a vehicle for both keyboard and guitar solos. Beginning in 2010, the ZPZ shows also have incorporated "Blessed Relief", usually introduced by Dweezil as an underappreciated Zappa composition.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Huey, S. (2011). "The Grand Wazoo - Frank Zappa | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 

External links[edit]