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  1. #26

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    What Mr. Beaumont said above !
    What labels are for ?
    For reassure people who need to sort things (and music)
    If you listen to FZ work, from the early days 'til the end, you'll notice a lot of different directions that he wanted to explore
    For "jazz", listen to Wazoo :

    IMHO, that's jazz, but you may think differently.

    How I wish he was still alive to see how he'd face today's political life ! (but that's not jazz !)


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #27

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    These sort of things flareup from time to time. I remember when Jazz Times had a cover story which asked the question, “Jimi Hendrix, jazz guitarist?“

    The consensus was that Jimi was a great musician, one-of-a-kind, every superlative you could think of. But he didn’t play jazz. Branford is a big Jimmy Fan, loves him to death, but he had the best quote: “I love Jimi, the only changes he knew were the times which were a change-in”.

    Basically it was an attempt to sell magazines. An issue devoted to a non-issue. Why is it important that he be considered a jazz musician? It’s not.

    I was simply answering the question by citing two great jazz musicians and their opinion .

    I’m a fan of Frank’s music, he optically single-handedly started the genre of progressive rock; especially from hot rats and throughout the 70s. More his instrumental stuff honestly. Like the album cover said, “shut up and play yer guitar “.

    My personal opinion is that musicians need to be really humble because the music is itself very humbling . Frank needed to shut up and play his guitar.

    As a guitar player, Ill listen to Jimi all day every day, his feel is off the charts . Anyone who strives to get better at music needs to listen to him, no matter what the genre. Frank I’m less sure of, with regard to playing guitar, at least. I would imagine that he needed to listen to Jimi more often, too.

    As for labels, I think Duke Ellington said it best: he didn’t like labels, but he also did not suffer any fools easily. Monk too. You can’t bullshit masters of such stature .

  4. #28

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    If you read the full article in All About Jazz, you'll see that Frank's quotes have been taken out of context.

    What he was really reacting to was....

    the elitist snobbery of a certain type of jazz fan"

    "Jazz fans could be bigoted and snobbish. So could certain jazz musicians."

    And yes in the 70's Frank preferred Ornette Coleman and post-bop Coltrane to Parker. I think many/most of us did back in the 70's.

    Re-creating Parker in 2018 is fun, and presumably mandatory for undergraduate jazz degree students, but art it's not.

    Apart from Frank's brilliance as a composer, musician, band-leader, guitarist... he remains the US's greatest satirist, at least to me as a foreign Brit.

  5. #29

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    do you hear any jazz standard played by Frank Zappa?
    Jazz guitarists do that all the time.

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    I think if Frank were alive today he'd say he's a classical composer who's pieces have elements of improvisation in them.
    I think if Frank were alive today he'd be scratching at the lid of his coffin [rimshot!]

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    As for being a Jazz guitarist? My humble opinion is no. He never soloed over 'changes'. It was either over a blues or a vamp. Not that there's anything wrong with that. My guess is that Frank never aspired to play jazz guitar in the traditional sense.

    He had his own thing going that satisfied him both artistically and financially. We should all be so lucky.
    Exactly. He definitely liked jazz and jazz players (why else would he insult them so much?), and there are aspects of jazz in his performances. But he really defied categorization. I mean how do you categorize someone for whom it makes perfect sense to have employed such vastly different players (Lowell George, Jean-Luc Ponty, Flo and Eddie ...). The typical jazz guitarist evolution of "I was into Chuck Berry and Eric Clapton, and then I heard Kind of Blue ..." is clearly not the path he was on ("I was into Johnny Guitar Watson and Gatemouth Brown, and then I heard Edgar Varese ...").


  7. #31

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    I'm not sure if Frank was actually making fun of jazz musicians with that line...Frank's humor rarely had one layer.

  8. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I'm not sure if Frank was actually making fun of jazz musicians with that line...Frank's humor rarely had one layer.
    Jazz or not. Argue or not. Frank was funny and like so much humour, it was full of truth. One of his best lines:

    Is Frank Zappa a jazz guitarist?-screen-shot-2018-01-24-11-17-48-am-png
    Shut up and play yer guitar

    Time to practice... fun thread!

  9. #33

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    This brings memories... I think that's my fav FZ solo

  10. #34

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    Thank you for the thoughtful replies. I know that on the internet these kinds of questions are often meant to be provocative. In my case, I'm curious what people think. I have no strong feelings on the matter, though I have encountered people who are willing to go to war on such matters.

    During the past year I've read a lot about jazz and jazz guitar. During the past week, I've dipped into Zappa's memoir, such as it is. Somewhere behind his vulgarity and juvenile attitude, Zappa seems to have had serious thoughts about composition, but it's hard to tell because he doesn't elaborate on what he knows. His attraction to the Varese record when he was a kid looks like admiring the weird for the sake of being weird. There's nothing in the book that reveals a love or commitment to guitar or music generally. There's plenty about what he doesn't like.

    I don't consider him a jazz guitarist and I doubt he considered himself one. He preferred eclecticism and resisted categorization. But you know there's no way around categorization. Given that people do it, we might as well try to get it right. Perhaps what people bristle about is excessive categorization or stultifying categorization. But you can't be open to everything. There's nothing wrong with making choices about the kind of music you want to play or listen to.

    Regarding some of the comments above, the question of jazz versus not jazz is complicated but not impossible. Some people don't consider jazz fusion jazz, so that would solve the Zappa question. I recently read a comment by a jazz guitarist saying Pat Metheny wasn't playing jazz. Sometimes that's probably true, which I'm OK with because I love much but not all that Metheny's done. I buy music that I like. I'm not a jazz guitarist. For four years in college, I studied classical guitar, but I wasn't very good. I found music theory baffling.

  11. #35

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    Here are Bruce Fowler and George Duke blowing over Frank's changes. (1:31 marks the start of what is unquestionably THE BEST trombone solo ever played in a rock band.)

  12. #36

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    As soon as we get a crystal clear definition of what jazz is, I'll be able to figure out if Zappa was a jazz player.

    I do recall, from a GP interview, that he said he didn't like playing over changes and preferred playing over vamps.

    I haven't listened to him enough to know if that was a joke, but it didn't strike me that way when I read the interview.

    Was Jerry Garcia a jazz musician? He played over changes, he played in odd meters, and he improvised all the time. I don't think of him as a jazz player (whatever that might mean) because the band's music didn't contain much of what I think of as a classic jazz sound.

  13. #37

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    Frank Zappa? Sui generis. I had all his early stuff up through Uncle Meat. Lumpy Gravy was a particular favorite, as was Rueben and the Jets. We're Only in it for the Money contains some of the most trenchant social observation I've ever heard. I mean, like, what is the ugliest part of your body??

  14. #38

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    Shut up an play yer guitar is my pick for greatest Fusion release of all time. I got to see it live. It was non stop from start to finish the most impossible imaginable, performed to perfection. Not just guitar but every instrument. A pinnacle not even R2F reached.

    so I consider Zappa to be the king of fusion as in all his releases he certainly fused every style possible into them.

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Frank Zappa? Sui generis. I had all his early stuff up through Uncle Meat. Lumpy Gravy was a particular favorite, as was Rueben and the Jets. We're Only in it for the Money contains some of the most trenchant social observation I've ever heard. I mean, like, what is the ugliest part of your body??
    Well some say it's your nose, some say it's your toes, but I think it's your mind :-)

    In the 70's jazz wasn't dead, it just smelt funny. Now it's dead, stuffed, and in a museum, with the occasional breakout of necromancers and walking dead zombies.

    Moreover, this forum is replete with the smug petit bourgeois twaddle that Frank loved to satirise.

    (The thread was a troll, so let's not make war about it.)
    Last edited by sunnysideup; 01-24-2018 at 06:10 PM.

  16. #40

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    I have a feeling today Frank wouldn't exactly fit with the society. Man, this thread made me realize how much I miss him!

  17. #41

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    I'm just happy to see a lot of FZ love in this thread! I wouldn't call him a jazz guitarist, but I really don't care much about that label anyways. I appreciate humility a lot, but it's not everyone's virtue especially for borderline geniuses like Jaco or dare I say Frank

  18. #42

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    I love Frank Zappa. We need him now.

  19. #43

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    the mothers guitar

    Is Frank Zappa a jazz guitarist?-2670669-ray-collins-obit-mothers-zappa-617-409-jpg


  20. #44

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    Somebody mentioned Ruth Underwood....

    Here's some of the best you will ever hear!
    Also one of Frank's best solo's (recorded live no less)

    The Defense Rests! (sorry ... watching Perry Mason)

  21. #45

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    I just called the 70's and they concur that Frank Zappa was in fact a jazz guitarist...

    Glad that's settled.
    Back to modal studies and cleaning my bong now.

    I had something really important to say on the genius thread..
    I forgot what it was.

  22. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ
    I’m not easily offended. I certainly don’t have any heroes . I think he would fit in perfectly for these times: he was an iconoclastic “Ironic” contrarian who like to offend everybody, one of those “enough about me what do you think about me ? “ types. That pretty much fits today like hand to glove.

    I find myself always drawn to serious, thoughtful musicians to don’t take themselves seriously and have genuine humility in spades . I.e., the exact opposite of attention gathering iconoclasts .

    The comedy routine that was “have I offended someone” is interesting for like three seconds and gets old really fast. One can say he pretty much helped pave the way for a Beavis and Butthead world.

    That’s why I said I was pretty much drawn to a lot to his instrumental work from hot rats to most likely to the period of Babysnakes. As he entered the 80s, I lost interest but that’s not just because of him, mostly music sucked as we entered the gated reverb and Synclavier and DX7 World. He wasn’t unusual in that regard. Look at Joni Mitchell’s 1980s music compared to her amazing 1970s output.
    I would never called him "Ironic" at all, and definitely not in today's hipster sense. His fight with PMRC in the 80's was real deal.

    He made fun of everything pompous or fake, or oppressive, or stupid, and never worried about if he offended someone's feelings. He would be 'shamed' today like crazy on all social medias. At least in US, that is.

    Your views are your views on him, I don't like arguing on internet for too long. Lets just celebrate his legacy. At least I will.

  23. #47

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    If we take to many swings at musicians alleged personalities wouldn't it be problematic to dig Miles Davis?

  24. #48

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    There’s some jazz influence on Waka/Jawaka Hot Rats, one of my favourites.

  25. #49

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    This is jazz staff recorded by top legends.

  26. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by countermoon
    I was reading Wikipedia and some of the genres they list for musicians.

    I came across Zappa listed as a jazz fusion guitarist. I don't know much about him, but from what little I recall (Dancin' Fool, Valley Girl) didn't sound much like jazz or even jazz fusion. I think of jazz fusion guitarists like Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin, Lee Ritenour. Many people think Zappa had his own eclectic style. Did Zappa ever comment on this? Did he consider himself a jazz guitarist? Is Wikipedia right? Keeping in mind that the question is partially subjective, was Zappa a jazz guitarist? What do most people think?
    Frank was a musician. I don't think he considered himself a jazzer at all, but especially live he was deeply wedded to improvising inside structure.

    I hear a lot of fusion in his music -- fusion from many genres.

    He's not jazz the way I think of jazz, but that and three bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. All I know is that he played his ass off, and is there anything else?