All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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

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 Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Gallarais" CD/LP/Track Review Gallarais
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Stage 'N Studio" CD/LP/Track Review Stage 'N Studio
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 6, 2018
Read "The Answer Is No" CD/LP/Track Review The Answer Is No
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 28, 2017
Read "The Bat Swings!" CD/LP/Track Review The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "Bright Force" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018