(UMe) Zappa Records/UMe presents Waka/Wazoo, a five-disc multi-format box set that features a complete historical rundown of the entire Electric Orchestra project, available now, just ahead of what would have been the Maestro's 82nd birthday on December 21st.
In 1972, following the aftermath of being pushed off stage at the Rainbow Theatre in London by a crazed attendee, Frank Zappa found himself recuperating for months in his home in the hills of Los Angeles.
Although he was confined to a wheelchair and in immense pain, his work ethic could not be tamed, and he would end up having one of the most prolific years of his hugely prolific career. During this time, he managed, among other things, to assemble an ensemble that quenched his thirst and desire to work with a large "Electric Orchestra."
Ultimately, he contracted a 20-piece group for recording sessions and an eight-city tour. Shortly thereafter, a scaled down 10-piece configuration, now popularly known as the "Petite Wazoo" toured for almost two months. After all was said and done, Zappa finished the experiment with two albums in the can - Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo - plus two tours and an archive of show masters in his Vault. It was a monumental feat for a guy with a cast on his leg and a conductor's baton in his hand.
Produced by Ahmet Zappa and Zappa Vaultmeister Joe Travers, the comprehensive 4CD + Blu-Ray Audio set boasts unreleased alternate takes of almost every composition recorded during the album sessions, Vault mix session outtakes and oddities, and also includes the full final show of the 10-piece tour, recorded at the famous Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on December 15, 1972.
Additionally, the collection includes a set of demos for George Duke's solo material that Zappa produced and played guitar on during the album recording sessions at Paramount Studios. Although Duke would go on to re-record the compositions for his own albums, the versions with Zappa have never been officially issued until now.
The Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo albums themselves are presented on Blu-Ray Audio disc in a variety of exciting listening experiences: brand-new, first-time-ever immersive Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital True HD 5.1 surround sound mixes, mixed from the original multitracks by Erich Gobel and Karma Auger at Studio 1LA, and 96kHz 24-bit high-resolution stereo remasters, mastered by Doug Sax with Robert Hadley and Sangwook "Sunny" Nam at The Mastering Lab in 2012. Both albums are also available for hi-res streaming.
The five-disc set is housed in a clamshell box with a 44-page booklet with unseen photos from the Vault from the recording sessions, rehearsals, and tour, plus liner notes by Zappa Vaultmeister Joe Travers and Scott Parker, author of several books on Zappa and host of the official Zappa podcast, the ZappaCast. Aside from several vintage mixes included in the set, and the surround sound mixes, the audio was mixed by Craig Parker Adams at Winslow Ct. Studios and John Polito at Audio Mechanics from the original 1972 16-track and 4-track analog masters, all mastered by Polito.
For the first time since they were repressed from the analog tapes in the '70s, Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo are now available once again on vinyl. Fans have the choice of audiophile grade 180-gram black vinyl or limited edition 180-gram color vinyl. UDiscover Music and Zappa.com are exclusively offering Waka/Jawaka on translucent green vinyl and The Grand Wazoo on brown marble vinyl, both with tip-on jackets and lithographs. Mastered from the analog tapes by Bernie Grundman, the albums are being pressed at Optimal Media in Germany.
Stream/purchase Waka/Wazoo here and see the tracklisting below:
Paramount Studios Recording Session Alternates and Outtakes
1. Your Mouth (Take 1)
2. Big Swifty (Alternate Take)
3. Minimal Art (Eat That Question - Version 1, Take 2)
4. Blessed Relief (Outtake Version)
5. Think It Over (The Grand Wazoo) (Outtake Version)
6. For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers) (Outtake Version)
7. Waka/Jawaka (Outtake Version)
Paramount Studios Recording Session Alternates and Outtakes, continued
1. Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus (Alternate Take)
2. Eat That Question (Version 2, Alternate Take)
3. Big Swifty (Alternate Mix)
4. For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers) (Alternate Mix)
5. It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal (Alternate Mix)
6. Waka/Jawaka (Alternate Mix)
7. Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus (Alternate Mix)
8. Eat That Question (Alternate Mix)
George Duke Demos - The Master Versions
1. For Love (I Come Your Friend)
2. Psychosomatic Dung
3. Uncle Remus (Instrumental)
George Duke Session Outtakes
5. For Love (I Come Your Friend) (Basic Track, Take 1)
6. Psychosomatic Dung (Basic Track, Take 2)
7. Love (Basic Track, Take 1)
The Grand Wazoo - Live
8. Approximate (Live - FZ Record Plant Mix)
10-Piece/Petite Wazoo - Live / Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, CA - 12-15-1972
9. Winterland '72 Opening And Band Introductions
10. Little Dots
10-Piece/Petite Wazoo - Live, continued
Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, CA - 12-15-1972
1. America Drinks
3. Farther O'Blivion
4. Cosmik Debris
5. Chunga's Revenge
48kHz 24-bit Dolby Atmos, 48kHz 24-bit Dolby TrueHD 5.1, 96kHz 24-bit PCM Stereo
1. Big Swifty
2. Your Mouth
3. It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal
4. Waka / Jawaka
THE GRAND WAZOO
1. The Grand Wazoo
2. For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers)
3. Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus
4. Eat That Question
5. Blessed Relief