Ed Palermo Big Band

The Adventures Of Zodd Zundgren

When it comes to arranging the music of Frank Zappa for big band, Ed Palermo has demonstrated uncanny ability. The bandleader and multi-instrumentalist has released two acclaimed albums dedicated to Zappa’s music, starting with his big band’s 1997 debut, The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays Frank Zappa (Astor Place), and continuing with Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Cuneiform) in 2006. Early last year, Palermo released an ambitious double album featuring his big band arrangements of songs by various British rockers. Now comes The Adventures Of Zodd Zundgren, which reinvents music by Zappa and Todd Rundgren, two much-admired but drastically different American rock composers who made a strong impression on Palermo during his teenage years in the 1960s. Palermo and band navigate seamlessly between the Zappa and Rundgren oeuvres, playing with passion and precision one moment, embracing hilarity and absurdity the next. Highlights include prominent baritone saxophone parts smartly executed by Barbara Cifelli (as on Rundgren’s “Influenza”), Bruce McDaniel’s intricately layered vocals on the Zappa tune “Echidna’s Arf (Of You),” Bill Straub’s breathy tenor saxophone statement on Rundgren’s “Wailing Wall,” Katie Jacoby’s fine violin work on Zappa’s “You Are What You Is,” and Palermo’s wailing electric guitar solos on Rundgren’s “Kiddie Boy” and Zappa’s “Marqueson’s Chicken.” Madcap humor abounds, which should come as no surprise from Palermo, who wryly credits controversial White House adviser Kellyanne Conway as the project’s “alternative executive producer.”

On Sale Now
May 2024
Stefon Harris
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