191

The Ed Palermo Big Band: Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
The Ed Palermo Big Band: Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance Saxophonist and bandleader Ed Palermo has been arranging and performing the music of rock icon Frank Zappa for the last twelve years. 25 years ago he assembled a sixteen-piece big band of New York-based musicians which have played regularly at various Manhattan jazz clubs. This album is Palermo's second recording specifically dedicated to Zappa's original music.

Frank Zappa was many things to many people: he was brilliant, zany, creative and a bit crazy, but never truly jazzy. Though recognized as one of the originators of jazz-rock, he once said of jazz music, "Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny." With this album, Palermo's eighteen-piece ensemble (including tenor player Dave Riekenberg and percussionist Emedin Rivera as special guests) attempts to restate Zappa's compositions in a non-conventional jazz style that does succeed to some degree, but never quite convinces you that you're listening to jazz in some fashion.

This is never as evident as with "Mom and Dad/Oh No," a rather sad number containing less than stellar vocals from guitarist Carl Restivo, as well as a fine solo statement by Palermo on alto that nevertheless struggles as a jazz sound. "Pound for a Brown on The Bus" is another example of a rock-infused melody that just falls short of jazz, despite some excellent phrasing by the leader and Ted Kooshian's fine effort on the organ. Then there is the funky version of "Gumbo Variations," not quite what I would have in mind for a spin of pleasant music, but then that's my personal feeling, and I'm sure there are many who would disagree.

Now for the finer qualities of this album, and there are plenty. The disc does include several respectable and yes, somewhat jazzy interpretations of Zappa's music. The opening "RDNZL" is a spirited tune with spurts of fire, featuring a muscular solo by Palermo and nice accompaniment by trombonist Charles Gordon. The arrangements of "Sleep Dirt" and the finale, "Moggio," do the trick for me, as both of these contain real jazzy melodies augmented by Kooshian (organ), Bob Quaranta (piano) and Phil Chester (soprano).

My favorite item on this program has to be the classic title tune, which Palermo does a great job of transforming into a shoulder-moving Latin jazz salsa piece that swings to Rivera's percussion and Ben Kono's tenor shouts. This album is clearly an unconventional, non-traditional big band recording with a message: pay homage to this legendary composer and rock star. Palermo's dedication, commitment and talent as an arranger serve to pull this off as a big band jazz album, albeit an unusual one.


Track Listing: RDNZL; Take your Clothes Off When You Dance; Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula; Pound For A Brown On The Bus; Sleep Dirt; Gumbo Variations; Mom And Dad/Oh No; Moggio.

Personnel: Paul Adamy: electric bass; Bob Quaranta: piano; Ray Marchica: drums; Ted Kooshian: Kurzweil; Cliff Lyons: alto saxophone, clarinet; Phil Chester: alto & soprano saxophones, flute, piccolo; Bill Straub: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Ben Kono: tenor saxophone, flute; Barbara Cifelli: baritone saxophone; Charles Gordon: trombone; Joe Fiedler: trombone; Matt Ingman: bass trombone; Ronnie Buttacavoli: trumpet; John Hines: trumpet; Carl Restivo: vocals, guitar; Ed Palermo: arranger, alto saxophone.

Title: Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read We Know Not What We Do CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Slade Alive! CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Hope CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Brückenshlag" CD/LP/Track Review Brückenshlag
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Vit" CD/LP/Track Review Vit
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Z Octet" CD/LP/Track Review Z Octet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Ockeghem Octets" CD/LP/Track Review Ockeghem Octets
by John Eyles
Published: July 14, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!