Official Release #103. Performed/Arranged/Conducted by Frank Zappa. Road Tapes, Venue #3 features two complete shows from Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN. The July '70 Mothers line-up featured Flo & Eddie, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Aynsley Dunbar & Jeff Simmons. FZ's vast Vault does not contain many full shows from this time period, so that alone makes this release a special one. The tapes were recorded to stereo reel-to-reel, but not without problems. Due to their historical relevance, we felt it was worth it, warts 'n all! Venue #3 does not disappoint.
Official Release #96. Live recordings from 3 shows in Finlandia Hall, Helsinki Finland - August 23 & 24 1973. One year after the release of Frank Zappa‘s “Road Tapes, Venue #1” the Zappa Family Trust have announced a second volume in this series of “primitive audio documentary attempts to capture the essence of what was highly and improbably and even impossibly out there on the road in some of the worst audio terrain imaginable”.
This CD is most notable for featuring ten of trumpeter Tom Harrell's compositions. Few of the melodies from the harmonically advanced originals will stick in one's mind after one or two listens, but the solos are excellent (and in Harrell's case, often exquisite) and the generally melancholy moods of the advanced hard bop pieces are memorable in their own way. In addition to Harrell, Joe Lovano is in fine form on tenor, soprano and alto, Cheryl Pyle's two guest appearances on flute are a bonus and the rhythm section is supportive and alert with pianist Danilo Perez emerging as a major soloist, taking the title cut as a lyrical free improvisation duet with Harrell. An intriguing and thought-provoking session.
Official Release #92. Road Tapes, Venue #1 is a double live album by Frank Zappa, released posthumously on 31 October 2012, by the Zappa Family Trust on Vaulternative Records. It was recorded at Kerrisdale Arena, Vancouver, on August 25, 1968. Fantastic audio artifact of the Mothers of Invention in their live prime, in my opinion. A total must for Zappa fans, and the whole conceptual continuity thing. Even my wife, who generally loathes Frank's music, particularly when he sings, found the whole record compelling, except for Help I'm a Rock, which can rub even the most jaded musical obscurist the wrong way. I liked it just fine. Loved the Orange County Lumber Truck medley. Pick this one up, Zappa fans, you will not be disappointed.