Customer Reviews


4 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificate musical journey
This 72 minute long album features 18 Zappa compositions. Some pieces were written in the late sixties, but it's mostly material from its present. Everything old, though, is reworked and orchestrated for Ensemble Modern who do a GREAT job performing the music throughout the album. It's a very fresh, well performed and hi-tech sounding recording. It starts off with a...
Published on 13 Nov. 2003 by Patrik Lemberg

versus
4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Zappa, Jim - but not as we know it.
A word of caution. Essential listening for die-hard Zappa fans, no doubt. But. Some of the 'Amerika' ranting sounds juvenile and dated (a tragedy that Zappa did not survive to rant against the 2nd Bush administration, however), and the huge swathes of atonal music included here sound like humorless pastiches of(if not directly lifted from)1950s Darmstadt (in particular,...
Published on 25 Feb. 2004


Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificate musical journey, 13 Nov. 2003
By 
Patrik Lemberg (Tammisaari Finland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Yellow Shark (Audio CD)
This 72 minute long album features 18 Zappa compositions. Some pieces were written in the late sixties, but it's mostly material from its present. Everything old, though, is reworked and orchestrated for Ensemble Modern who do a GREAT job performing the music throughout the album. It's a very fresh, well performed and hi-tech sounding recording. It starts off with a nostalgic "Dog Breath/Uncle Meat" medley, continues with a beautiful ballad called "Outrage at Valdez".
The classic "Bebop Tango" is also performed but reworked featuring a new part written specifically for this recording.
"Ruth Is Sleeping" is an advance six minute piece written for, and performed on two pianos - truly inspiring as is "Get Whitey" (definitive highlight).
"Food Gathering..." and "Welcome To The U.S." are hilarious pieces of musical comedy - Cracks me up!
The album rounds off with Zappa conducting the ensemble playing "G-Spot Tornado"; a strong and perfect finish that was appreciated with a 15 minute standing ovation according to a FZ interview I read some time ago (on the recording the applause fade after two minutes).
The booklet is very informative - 30 pages featuring a lot of photos from the recoding and the rehearsals plus a LONG story about the whole project as well as commentary about EVERY PIECE from both Frank Zappa and the conductor Peter Rundel.
This recording is perfect proof that Frank Zappa was way more than a rock'n'roll guitar player, which unfortunately is the only way many saw him, and still do. He was and is an underrated composer and this is some of best work. This recording MIGHT not appeal to you if "Bobby Brown Goes Down" and "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" are your favorite Zappa songs, but deeply recommended to fans of "Civilization Phaze III", where Ensemble Modern is partly featured by the way. "C.P.III" is a must for those who like this recording and vice versa. Too bad Zappa didn't have enough time to record more music like this. Recently released, though, is a CD called "Everything Is Healing Nicely", consisting of recordings from the "Yellow Shark" rehearsals. Also worth checking out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An orchestral tour-de-force, 9 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Yellow Shark (Audio CD)
Long regarded as influential within rock circles (having landed record contracts for the likes of Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent), this CD represents what Frank had been doing all along - writing beautiful music. What we have here is a seamlessly edited colleciton of highlights from the 1992 concerts by the Ensemble Modern.
The intro sees Frank play down his rock-star image; "If you feel like throwing underpants onto the stage, put them right over there...", before opening with one of the older pieces presented here - the combined Dog/Meat (comprising the Dog Breath Variation and Uncle Meat), originally two seperate tracks from the 1969 album Uncle Meat.
Outrage at Valdez is a short piece excerpted from the soundtrack Zappa supplied to the Cousteau Society documentary of the same name. In the soundtrack, you only hear a 50 second excerpt of the theme to this track. Here you get the full piece. Scored primarily for woodwind with backing provided by brass, strings and percussion, the overall impression is of a translucent background with a lyrical melody floating over the top of it - one of Franks more melancholy works.
Times Beach II is the second movement of the wind quintet Times Beach written for the Aspen Wind Quintet. They pronounced one of the movements unplayable (a criticism levelled against Stockhausen's Zeitmasse), and the piece is yet to surface in it's full context. Here, we have an abstract 20th century wind quintet, where meter disolves but rhythm remains.
III Revised is the third movement of the string quartet None of the Above, originally commissioned by the Kronos Quartet. The revision involve the addition of a Contrabass part to the normal Quartet forces. Again, an abstract piece.
The Girl in the Maagnesium Dress, originally from the Perfect Stranger LP is a beautiful piece, featuring fiercely similar forces to Boulez's Marteau san Maitre. The performance and editing on this piece is outstanding - so much so that the music director of the Ensemble Modern thought that he was listening to the Synclavier version with the samples updated.
Be-Bop Tango is the complex little number from the Roxy album, although the themes date from earlier. Here we have it score in a kind of Jazz Ensemble setting, with a cocktail-lounge interlude.
Ruth is Sleeping is a work for solo piano that is so difficult that it is normally attempted as a work for two Pianos. Here, we have a stunning example of Frank's piano writing. Memories of the Piano/Drum Duet are here, other works from 200 Motels, and prefiguring the piano cadenzas on N-Lite.
None of the Above is the first movement of the string quartet mentioned above.
Pentagon Afternoon is what Frank described as a 'tone-poem', featuring an imaginary tableau of the Pentagon officials standing round trying to decide whether to press the big button.
Questi Cazzi di Piccione is a piece for String Quintet. Here, the players were having difficulty counting the rests without a conductor so tapped out the beats on their instruments during rehearsal. Frank liked the sound so much, her wrote it into the piece, and the knockings reminded him of the tapping and scraping of pigeons. The title is a common cry from anyone who has experienced pigeon-related "presents".
Times Beach III is the third movement of Times Beach.
Food Gathering... and Welcome to the United States are two spoken word pieces with conducted improvisations from the EM (under the baton of FZ). Here Frank demonstrates his usual relish in presenting us with the anomalies inherent in a bureaucratic society.
Pound for a Brown and Exercise #4 are two early pieces, again first heard on the Uncle Meat album (#4 is Uncle Meat variations), although the themes themselves are much earlier - Pound for a Brown was allegedly written as a String Quartet during Frank's pre-Mothers years.
Get Whitey is another example of the kind of scoring shown in Outrage at Valdez, with delicate sparse accompaniment, and the melody being passed seamlessly between different instrumental combinations, adding rich colour to an already beautiful piece.
G-Spot Tornado makes a fitting finale, with the ensemble once again performing some of the works first realised on Synclavier (this one from Jazz from Hell). The tempo is fast, the melody is infectious, and the applause at the end makes you realise that this is an all-live album (albeit heavily edited!)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mudsharks Final Curtain Call, 16 April 2010
This review is from: The Yellow Shark (Audio CD)
There are some Zappa fans who believe that FZ's best work was confined(mainly)to the original Mothers albums. To some extent I myself subscribe to that view -it is always those albums to which I find myself returning.I cannot find the spontaneous, gleeful invention(groan)in later releases that I find in,say, Uncle Meat or Burnt Weeny Sandwich. This however changes things. This is like listening to the Mothers for the first time again. There is a frisson to the music that I rarely get anymore from rock, jazz or classical listening. All right, this is not spontaneous music-it was meticulously put together on synclavier and then realised in more organic form by the Ensemble Modern (conducted by FZ in the main)but it SOUNDS so playful,wistful,fanciful,complex and involving. Rarely does a live recording transport you to a place that might aproximate the actual experience but I have to say that this is THE BEST live 'classical' recording I have ever listened to in terms of it's audiophile credentials. Flat out fantastic.5 stars.Thanks Frank and goodbye.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Zappa, Jim - but not as we know it., 25 Feb. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Yellow Shark (Audio CD)
A word of caution. Essential listening for die-hard Zappa fans, no doubt. But. Some of the 'Amerika' ranting sounds juvenile and dated (a tragedy that Zappa did not survive to rant against the 2nd Bush administration, however), and the huge swathes of atonal music included here sound like humorless pastiches of(if not directly lifted from)1950s Darmstadt (in particular, Stockhausen's 'Zeitmasse').
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Yellow Shark
The Yellow Shark by Frank Zappa (Audio CD - 2006)
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews