Home » Musicians » Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Frank Vincent Zappa was born on 21 December 1940, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. His parents were second-generation Sicilian Greeks, the family had arabian and french origins too. His father played “strolling crooner” guitar. At the age of 12 Frank, who had relocated to California with his family, became interested in drums, learning orchestral percussion at summer school in Monterey. In high school he had some more harmony training because he was an unruly senior, and was given permission to take some harmony classes “to occupy his mind with”. In fact, he found the training very boring. The first time he had any of his music performed was at Mount St. Mary's College in 1962 - an “all oddball, textured weirdo stuff”, that “didn't sound at all like music is supposed to sound”; still, “the thing was actually taped and broadcast by KPFK”.

Zappa played drums in a local R&B band called The Ramblers, and after moving to Lancaster formed the racially-integrated Blackouts. Early exposure to a record of Ionisation by avant garde classical composer Edgard Varèse instilled an interest in advanced rhythmic experimentation that never left him. The electric guitar also became a fascination, and he began collecting R&B records that featured guitar solos: Howlin' Wolf with Hubert Sumlin, Muddy Waters, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown were special favourites. A school friend, Don Vliet (later to become Captain Beefheart), shared his interest.

Read more

Tags

Jason Camelio
trombone
Frank Macchia
composer/conductor
Ed Palermo
saxophone
Rich Willey
trumpet
Ed Hartman
percussion
Michel Delville
guitar, electric
Brent Bowman
saxophone, alto
SoSaLa
saxophone, tenor
Dorian Wallace
composer/conductor
Dave Quick
synthesizer
The Ed Palermo Big Band
band/orchestra
Jason Quick
guitar
Illya Gomola
keyboards
Kyle MacLeod
keyboards
Carl Mayotte
bass, electric
Jonatan Piña Duluc
saxophone, tenor
Denis Krupin
various
Intergalactic Brasstronauts
multi-instrumentalist
Alix Tucou
trombone, bass
SoSaLa2
saxophone, tenor
Jimmy Layton
keyboards

Photos

Albums

Roxy By Proxy

Original Jazz Classics
2014

buy

A Token Of His Extreme

Original Jazz Classics
2013

buy

Congress Center,...

Original Jazz Classics
2013

buy

Daytona Beach,...

Original Jazz Classics
2013

buy

Sheik Yerbouti

Original Jazz Classics
2012

buy

Uncle Meat

Original Jazz Classics
2012

buy

Videos

Similar

Shop Amazon

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.