Frank Zappa: The Gumbo Variations


The Gumbo Variations


Frank Zappa (guitar)


Hot Rats (Rykodisc 10508)

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Frank Zappa (guitar), Ian Underwood (keyboards, clarinet, sax), Don 'Sugarcane' Harris (violin), Paul Humphrey (drums), Max Bennett (bass).

Composed by Frank Zappa


Recorded: Los Angeles, July 18-August 30, 1969


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

While the Beatles were working on Abbey Road, Frank Zappa was playing around with Hot Rats. This was the way fusion should have sounded . . . raising rock to a higher level of musicianship and creativity, rather than packaging watered-down jazz for the masses. "The Gumbo Variations" is a hard-grooving 17-minute jam with one of the tightest rhythm sections you have ever heard on a jazz-rock album. And the solos are topnotch -- Ian Underwood's tenor sax outing deserves your immediate attention, and Zappa scorches everything in sight with his guitar work.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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