Let's get one thing straight, Frank Zappa is a musical genius and Alex Winter's new documentary simply titled "ZAPPA" is proof to that fact. Magnolia Pictures recently released the new film to all digital platforms, along with an accompanying soundtrack that follows Frank Zappa's entire career. Winter had full access to the Zappa vault to create this new film that follows Frank from his days with his early band, The Mothers Of Invention, all the way to his final orchestral piece "The Yellow Shark." Since Frank Zappa's death in 1993, there has been a big hole in the music industry for an artist that created music in almost every genre that was available to him.
The soundtrack was released digitally on November 27th to go along with the film. A physical version of this release will be available on CD on February 19, 2021, as a 3-disc set and available on vinyl not until May 7, 2021, as a 5-LP set. In the meantime, you will have to stream or download all 68-tracks that make up the soundtrack.
Let's begin at the beginning with The Mothers Of Invention, which make up ten of the first fifteen tracks of this release. Early highlights feature The Mothers Of Invention live at the Whisky A Go-Go in 1968 performing "Memories Of El Monte," "Oh! In The Sky" and "The Duke." The quality of these recordings are excellent, considering that they have never been officially released. You also get direct input from Frank on how The Mothers were able to stay together and what it was like to perform live in the early days with short interview snippets. As you dive deeper in to the soundtrack, you will hear some of Frank's orchestral favorites, like Stravinsky's "The Firebird Suite - Finale" and Edgard Varese's "Ionisation." You will also get a sense of Frank's collaborations with the Alice Cooper Band on their debut album, as well as Frank's live performance with John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the Fillmore East in 1971. Instead of recycling tons of Frank's studio work, this soundtrack includes live versions of some of Zappa's most well-known gems, like "Muffin Man" from The Palladium in 1977 and "Dancin' Fool" from his legendary 1978 performance on Saturday Night Live.
Film composer John Frizzell also includes twenty-six of his original classical musical snippets to the soundtrack, which are also featured in the documentary and adds that extra element of emotion to what's shown on-screen. The final tracks of the soundtrack highlight Frank's orchestral music, which meant a lot to him toward the end of his career. You can hear the grace, elegance and just enough of that Zappa touch in his "Overture" performed by the Ensemble Modern, live in Frankfurt, Germany in 1992. The album closes with one final touch of Zappa magic with an amazing live performance of "Watermelon In Easter Hay." To find out more about the new "ZAPPA" documentary and soundtrack, please visit zappa.com/news/zappa-original-motion-picture-soundtrack.