The Grand Wazoo album cover
The Grand Wazoo

The Mothers of Invention , Frank Zappa

Reprise Records

On this, the jazziest of his records, Zappa assembled a huge band - six woodwinds, five brass players and more - for several extended pieces of orchestrated jazz. Musicians are layered on top of each other, often doubling their lines, giving Zappa’s music a bombastic, big band feel, even in its trickier passages. But the key to this one comes in the second half, when George Duke delivers solos on “Eat That Question” and “Blessed Relief” that shine even on repeated listens. Zappa’s playing, meanwhile, is restrained and tasteful here, settling into a nice, laid back groove.

Roz Milner

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