Frank Zappa
Jazz From Hell


5.0
classic

Review

by FeralCats USER (1 Reviews)
November 13th, 2005 | 25 replies | 21,569 views


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist


<p>Approaching this album asks a lot of questions. What is Jazz From Hell? What is it like? Is it actually Jazz? Why does Frank Zappa look so serious on the cover?</p><p>&nbsp;Jazz From Hell is a Synclavier album. A Synclavier was a machine that you could input notes in to, however complicated, whatever the time signature, whatever instrument-whether it was possible or not, you could put it in, and have it played back to you.</p><p>&nbsp;So obviously, Jazz From Hell isn't 'normal'. Very little in Frank Zappa's output is. What I can tell you is that Frank took total advantage of what the synclavier could offer-There are crazy time signatures, incredible melodies, and impossible scores.</p><p>Keep in mind that Zappa makes no apologies-this music never even comes close to trying to be accessible. Yet, if you can get by what at first may seem daunting, you will find beautiful melodies. It's been stated many times that Frank Zappa's machine played with more emotion than many humans do-Stravinsky would be proud.</p><p>Second-this shouldn't be dismissed immediatley as 'computer music' (which is unfairly treated anyway). The sounds are fascinating, and you probably won't hear them many other places. There is also one live, human played guitar solo-no doubt a breather Zappa put in for his more rock based fans.</p><p>Before we begin, drop all preconceptions of synthesized music you may have, and appreciate it for what matters-the music.</p><p>1.Night School- A sublime, perfect opening to the album. It begins by setting the basic theme-then an underlying melody. Then, comes a barrage of notes. While seemingly unfocused, they create an incredibly beautiful melody. Does the set up sound familiar..? Yes, it is very much like a synthesized guitar solo, structurally. 5/5<br /> </p><p>2.The Beltway Bandits- This piece, like so many on the album, sets a mood perfectly. Using a sort of yelping noise (But softer) with various pitches, it creates a interesting melody indeed. It is one of the more avantgarde pieces of the album. 4/5</p><p>3.While You Were Art II- This is a Synclavier transcription of the 'While You Were Out' solo from the Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar album. As such, it's one of the most abstract pieces on the album. It tends to break off from what it's doing and start something new frequently. It's a wonderful piece, though you really should pay attention to it to grasp it's entire spectrum. 5/5</p><p>4.Jazz From Hell- I can see how this is jazzy, but if you consider it so it most definetley deserves it's title. It's the easiest song on this entire album, as it's melody and harmony are obvious. It's beautiful, atmosphereic, but not one of the best on the album. 4/5</p><p>5.G-Spot Tornado- On first listen, this is nothing more than cacophony. But the reverse is true-It's one of the most insane, brilliant melodies Zappa ever wrote. Frank Zappa himself said it was impossible to play, though the Ensemble Modern proved him wrong later. The piece, I feel, speaks for itself. 5/5</p><p>6.Damp Ankles-The piece opens up with a sample of rain fall with crickets chirping. To me, that's the low point of the album-it's clearly synthesized. The piece itself sets it's atmosphere perfectly. It's sort of the sister piece to Jazz From Hell-both very accessible. 5/5.</p><p>7.St.Etienne-The only 'human' track on the album, this is a beautiful guitar solo. One of Frank's best, which is hard to say considering how incredible a guitarist he is. Detractors of the album praise this, though only to show how human it is compared to the others. I personally think that's a blank claim, but it's hard to deny this piece's beauty. 5/5</p><p>8.Massagio Galore-The funniest track on the Album. It has a great beat, and uses coughing and screeching noises as sounds and fodder. You can almost dance to this piece. It seems like a precursor to his Mothers of Prevention album, or more accuratley to his unreleased Resolver+Brutality album. Unfortunatley, it's a pretty weak piece in comparison to what preceeded it. A weak finish, though overall good piece.3.5/5</p><p>&nbsp;OVERALL SCORE- 5 Stars<br /> </p>


user ratings (118)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
NEDM
November 13th 2005


1113 Comments


That picture of Zappa looks like he's satan or something. It was an okay review. On the album, I prefer Apostrophe(') to any other Zappa full-length.

ocelot-05
November 13th 2005


807 Comments


He sounds like a very instresting musician. What I don't understand is why he is always listen among related artists to Tool on many music websites?

pulseczar
November 13th 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^ because Zappa is jesus

Dancin' Man
November 13th 2005


719 Comments


This is true. I want to hear this album. Because Zappa is jesus. I wish he had played metal.

Killtacular
November 13th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really need to get into Zappa. Is this a good place to start or would '/Hot Rats/something else be better?

pulseczar
November 13th 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Scruples get: Hot Rats, Apostrophe, We're Only in it for the Money or Freak Out!

Go find any of those. Now.

Zebra
Moderator
November 14th 2005


2647 Comments


Frank Zappa is god, I need to get this.

Killtacular
November 14th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[quote=The Theory of Evolution Cause]Scruples get: Hot Rats, Apostrophe, We're Only in it for the Money or Freak Out!
Go find any of those. Now.[/quote]
Yes sir!!
If I might ask, do you have a favourite of those?

pulseczar
November 14th 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[quote="Scruples"]Yes sir!!
If I might ask, do you have a favourite of those?[/quote]

probably Freak Out! or Hot Rats both are awesometastic

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 15th 2005


2125 Comments


This thing is badass. It got a Parental Advisory, how funny is that?

the_misery_chick
November 15th 2005


76 Comments


lol how can an instrumental album get a parental advisory sticker :confused:

pulseczar
November 15th 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

that's very strange. Plus Hilary Duff's music is far more offensive for being so horrendous yet it's approved for the whole family.

Killtacular
November 15th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really have no idea how this got a parental advisory. Maybe it was Tipper Gore just trying to spite Zappa for speaking out against her crappy censorship.

Otherwise, the only thing it could be is obscene artwork.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 15th 2005


2125 Comments


It was because Frank Zappa didn't like censorship and wasn't afraid to let people know, I think. So they put an Advisory sticker on his record.

Zappa
November 25th 2005


355 Comments


This album is good. Very good, at times.

One of those times is "G-Spot Tornado."

fuzed
November 26th 2005


7 Comments


It is a strange album, but one that I always keep coming back to for repeated listens. It sort of evolves the more you listen to it, and what may seem inaccessible at first, opens up into a world of beautiful melodies and rhythms. This album works as a good introduction to what Zappa goes on to do on his final Civilization Phase III album.

Pechorin
December 1st 2005


160 Comments


Excellent review. As far as I know, it's the only instrumental album to get the sticker. It was the PMRC's way to retaliate against the stance he took in the PMRC hearings that led to the stickers.

Storm In A Teacup
December 1st 2005


12780 Comments


Anybody who likes should get The Yellow Shark with the Ensemble Modern(but filed under Zappa). The EM is a european "orchestra" that can play just about anything, FZ was very involved in this project, at least as much as his health would allow(he had planned to be at this live performance but could not make it). It was one of the last things he did. This is an incredable disc especially if you want to hear G Spot Tornado played by actual humans.

Storm In A Teacup
December 1st 2005


12780 Comments


Anybody who likes this should get The Yellow Shark with the Ensemble Modern(but filed under Zappa). The EM is a european "orchestra" that can play just about anything, FZ was very involved in this project, at least as much as his health would allow(he had planned to be at this live performance but could not make it). It was one of the last things he did. This is an incredable disc especially if you want to hear G Spot Tornado played by actual humans.

FeralCats
December 13th 2005


9 Comments


There is actually a correction to that- he was there at the first few performances. He left halfway through due to sickness.



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