- fido plays zappa: too big to fail
(announced, cd, switzerland, private release)
Every now and then, you listen to a record and you just have to tell everyone how great it is. "Too Big To Fail" is such an album.
Swiss tentet Fido (or FidoPlaysZappa as they're also called) recorded "Too Big To Fail" in the spring of 2011. Contrary to their previous albums, TBTF got recorded in the studio. And that's not all. The band opted for an acoustic approach.
The result is magnificent.
The choice of compositions is excellent and the arrangements and the performance are stunning, to say the least.
The album opens with the famous 'Yellow Snow' / 'Nanook' / 'St.Alphonzo' / 'Father O'Blivion' set. Brush-like drumming, guitar and double bass playing in the 'Yellow Snow' riff in unison, laid-back vocals, jazzy horns behind it, the great sound of the marimba, and that's just the first ten seconds... Beautiful. The tone is set.
Next up is 'Catpostrophe', a free jazz piece. Short and powerful. Nice.
'Black Napkins' takes us back to the Zappa repertoire. Dave Blaser performs the melody line (& a nice improvisation) on trumpet, backed by the rest of the band. One of the saxes jumps in, and makes this one of the best tracks of the album.
'Camarillo Brillo' gest an up-tempo country treatment, while 'Sofa no.2' is performed on the trombone.
'Dupree's Paradise' and 'Let's Make The Water Turn Black' are two more highlights. 'Dupree's' clocks at one minute and twenty seconds but the band displays the beauty of this composition in all its facets.
The album continues with 'Montana', another laid-back jazzy tune. Love the piano, and the trombone!!
'Colonia 4711' is a solo piano piece. It starts as an open, spacy piece, and slowly turns into a great intro for 'Eat That Question', which, for me, is the highlight of this album. A great arrangement of a superb composition.
'More Trouble Every Day' is another beauty. Pascal Grünenfelder's double bass stands out in this tune. Another great arrangement & performance.
Last, but not least, are 'Basle III' another free jazz piece, 'What's New In Baltimore' (Steff Strittmatter on guitar and Oli Friedli on piano !!), and the finale: 'Musician's Salary' a 16-minute contemporary composition / improvisation.
I love it.
Acoustic, jazzy Zappa. You really need to hear this.