All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

30

Ed Palermo: The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
It isn't a characteristically positive sign when an album incorporates obvious humor into its credits and occasionally, the music itself. The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren could raise red flags with its title, personnel adjectives such as "Terrifying Trombones" and listing Kellyanne Conway as "Alternative Executive Producer." But a listener familiar with The Ed Palermo Big Band, Cuneiform catalog, including Oh No! Not Jazz!! (2014), One Child Left Behind (2016) and The Great Un-American Songbook, Vols. I & II (2017), knows that the less than nuanced gag lines are simply throw-aways. The real fun comes in the form of jazz interpretations of pop and rock luminaries.

The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren is derived from the mashup of Todd Rundgren and Frank Zappa compositions, randomly ordered across twenty-five compact tracks on a single CD. This album is not Palermo's first go-round with Zappa material. The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (Astor Place Records, 1997), Eddy Loves Frank (Cuneiform Records, 2009) along with Oh No!... have their roots in Palermo's early fascination with the creative music icon and years of residency at New York's The Bottom Line, where his interpretation of Zappa music drew a regular audience. If Zappa's affinity for jazz was a draw for Palermo, then Rundgren's connection to the British invasion may have been another. The Great Un-American Songbook was Palermo's paean to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, King Crimson, Traffic, Jethro Tull and others. Rundgren has worked with members The Beatles, The Who and Cream. He experimented with genre-less creative music on A Wizard, a True Star, an album that included Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker and David Sanborn.

Following the opening "The Solemn Z-Men Credo," a short choir piece of undetermined origin, Zappa's "Peaches En Regalia" sets the stage for much of the expansive big band swing and rock mixture to come. Rundgren's "Influenza" follows suit, enhanced by Katie Jacoby's euphoric violin. The most well-known of Rundgren's early songs, "Hello, it's Me" is essentially true to form but with a subdued brass backdrop and an appealing lead vocal from guitarist Bruce McDaniel. Another Rundgren gem, the bluesy "Broke Down and Busted" features a vocal that toys with, then rises well above lounge lizard status. "Zoots Alure" from Zappa's 1976 album of the same name, trades its original edginess for dramatic and effective orchestration.

There is plenty of variety across these twenty-five tracks. The purely nostalgic feel of "Janet's Big Dance Number" is matched by the scat of "Echidna's Arf (Of You)," as supplied by guests, The Louisiana Swindle Singers who may or may not be a one-off on this project. There is a slight western swing element to "You Are What You Is" thanks to Jacoby's energized fiddling, and the trademark Palermo humor comes through in "Song of the Viking." But there are two primary languages being spoken here—jazz that rocks (as opposed to fusion) and big band swing with all the idiosyncrasies of the leader. More than anything else, The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren is big, irresistible fun.

Track Listing: The Solemn Z-Men Credo; Peaches En Regalia; Influenza; Yer Fast; Absolutely Free; Breathless (Part 1); Big Swifty; Kiddie Boy; Montana; Emperor of the Highway; You Are What You Is; Echidna's Arf (Of You); Hello It's Me; Big Swifty Coda; Wailing Wall; Florentine Pogen; Flamingo; Marqueson's Chicken; Song of the Viking; Janet's Big Dance Number; Broke Down and Busted; Breathless (Part 2); Zoot Allures; Yer Fast (Reprise).

Personnel: Cliff Lyons, Phil Chester, Bill Straub, Ben Kono, Barbara Cifelli: reeds; Ronnie Buttacavoli, John Bailey, Steve Jankowski, Steve Jankowski: trumpets; Charley Gordon, Mike Boschen, Matt Ingman: trombones; Bob Quaranta: piano; Ted Kooshian: synth/Ssampler; Paul Adamy: bass; Ray Marchica: drums; Katie Jacoby: violin / vocal: ; Bruce McDaniel: guitar / vocal.

Title: The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
Read more articles
The Great Un-American Songbook, Volumes I & II

The Great Un-American...

Cuneiform Records
2017

buy
The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren

The Adventures of...

Cuneiform Records
2017

buy
One Child Left Behind

One Child Left Behind

Cuneiform Records
2016

buy
Oh No! Not Jazz!!

Oh No! Not Jazz!!

Cuneiform Records
2014

buy
Eddy Loves Frank

Eddy Loves Frank

Cuneiform Records
2009

buy
Ed Palermo Big Band: Eddy Loves Frank

Ed Palermo Big Band:...

Cuneiform Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Ancestros CD/LP/Track Review
Ancestros
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Bitter Suite CD/LP/Track Review
The Bitter Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Ornettiquette CD/LP/Track Review
Ornettiquette
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Astral Revelations CD/LP/Track Review
The Astral Revelations
by John Sharpe
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Sound Of The Earth CD/LP/Track Review
The Sound Of The Earth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "Aragon/El Niño" CD/LP/Track Review Aragon/El Niño
by Joe Gatto
Published: September 29, 2018
Read "Solano Canyon" CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Gegenschein" CD/LP/Track Review Gegenschein
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 15, 2018
Read "Peaks of Light" CD/LP/Track Review Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Hidden Details" CD/LP/Track Review Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Live At The Magic Triangle" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Magic Triangle
by John Sharpe
Published: January 13, 2018