Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Frank Zappa

Jazz from Hell

Review by Gary Hill

This is an instrumental jazz album. Still, it’s easy to recognize it as Frank Zappa by a lot of the melodies. I would say that it has a tendency toward the electronic end of the spectrum. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Still, this is worth having for sure.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Night School

Drums lead us out here. Then we’re out into a fusion kind of jam that’s got a bit of an 80s vibe to it. In a lot of ways this reminds me of Pat Metheny. That said, many of the melodies really ring true of a Zappa sound.

The Beltway Bandits
There are a lot of playful Zappaisms built into this. It’s related to stuff like Rock in Opposition and modern progressive chamber music. This is strange, but also compelling. I like it a lot, really.
While You Were Art II
This really does have an art rock kind of vibe. It’s got something that make me think of some of Herbie Hancock’s 1980s output, too. At times, this is one of the most accessible and entertaining pieces here. It’s still recognizable for those in the know as Zappa, though. It’s also got some more adventurous sections that make this a surprising ride.
Jazz from Hell
This careens this way and that. It’s quite electronic. It’s also aptly titled as this is jazz from hell. Yet, it’s also quite compelling. Yes, it’s weird, but it works.
G-Spot Tornado
Somehow, this fast paced tune makes me think of Frank Zappa doing Synergy. It’s electronic, a little off kilter and also quite meaty.
Damp Ankles
Mostly rhythmic, this is built with weird waves of electronic sound. It’s very strange and a bit unsettling. It’s also oddly compelling.
St. Etienne
Built around some trademark Zappa guitar soloing, this is one of my favorite pieces here. It does a great job of combing blues, jazz and rock. It also doesn’t hurt that Zappa really drives it home with that soloing.
Massaggio Galore
There are some vocalizations on this piece. It’s bizarre, but also more of a band oriented jam than a lot of the rest here. Still, it has that electronic jazz element at play. It’s weird, but quite cool.


More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Progressive Rock

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./