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Ed Palermo Gives Frank Zappa A Jazz Makeover


06/30/2009
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(Glass Onyon) Jazz is not dead - at least not when the Ed Palermo Big Band plays it. Part of the Cuneiform 'Contemporary Masters' series, 'Eddy Loves Frank' is the third album to feature the music of Frank Zappa as arranged by Ed Palermo and performed by the Ed Palermo Big Band.

A brilliantly original and entertaining big band jazz CD, 'Eddy Loves Frank' shows that Zappa's music has become assimilated into the American songbook. It also reveals that Zappa, as an American rock composer, deserves to be recognized with as much respect as America's other revered popular music composers, including jazz composers such as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Oliver Nelson, and popular song composers such as George Gershwin and Cole Porter. Despite the music's complexity, Palermo's incredibly skilled 18-piece band and three guest musicians play it with inspiration and apparent ease.

"I'm prouder and happier than ever about this CD because I felt less constrained to follow Zappa's structural formats," says Ed. "It has never been my intention to replicate Zappa's recordings (what would be the point?) and with this new CD (my 3rd of Zappa music) I felt freer to manipulate the structures more than I ever have. I suppose it's a natural evolution."

As a jazz arranger, composer, bandleader and saxophonist, Ed Palermo works magic with Frank Zappa's music. Since 1994, he has devoted the bulk of the performance by his NY-based, 18-piece Ed Palermo Big Band to his arrangements of Zappa's compositions. These big-band jazz arrangements are no mere transcriptions; they are "revelations", as one critic best said. Palermo belongs to a tradition of visionary composers and arrangers who recognize hidden beauty and genius in an avant garde composer's radical work, and create genius arrangements that serve to reveal that beauty to the public eye. Palermo has arranged almost 200 Zappa tunes. Performed by his inspired and tremendously skilled band, Palermo's all instrumental,
jazz arrangements of Zappa's rock compositions bring Zappa's music wider recognition, beyond the rock world, and elevate rock music's status as 'serious' composition, proving that serious and satirical can indeed coexist.

Palermo's interpretations of Zappa's work soon received further recognition when Ned Wharton of NPR's Weekend Edition invited the Ed Palermo Big Band into NPR's studio to tape a session with host Andrea Seabrook. Aired on Weekend Edition Sunday on October 8, 2006 to an audience of hundreds of thousands of NPR listeners, t he feature, titled "Ed Palermo, Making New Arrangements for Zappa," included the Big Band performing 4 of Palermo's Zappa arrangements and a conversation with Palermo. The Ed Palermo Big Band played a number of shows following its Cuneiform release, including dates at NYC's Iridium and, in 2006, at Baltimore's Sonar, and festival appearances at the Detroit Jazz Festival (2006), The Clifford Brown Festival in Wilmington, DE (2007), the Syracuse Jazz Festival (2007), NYC's South Street Seaport (Summer 2008), and a yearly August spot as part of the Union County Arts Festival at Echo Lake Park, Mountainside, NJ. While most of these concerts featured Palermo's arrangements of Zappa, some focused instead on Palermo's big band jazz arrangements of blues and rock music (Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Mike Bloomfield).

Besides working with his own band, Palermo conducts and arranges for other bands. One of the most adventurous, inspired, and brilliantly humorous arrangers for jazz big band working in America today, Palermo arranged music by James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul", for Christian McBride's Big Band. The music was presented in a Sept. 6, 2006 concert at the Hollywood Bowl, which featured Brown on stage, singing with the band only a few months before his death. Palermo conducts the U.S. Army Blues (also known as the U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, and part of the U.S. Army Band) in special concerts of his Zappa arrangements held annually most recently in April 2009 at a military=2 0base outside Washington DC.

For more information on Ed Palermo's 'Eddy Loves Frank' CD visit the official website at: www.PalermoBigBand.com ;



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