Zappawen at Urban Artifact Saturday

Zappaween poster

This Saturday, October 31st, the first annual ZAPPAWEEN will take place at Urban Artifact! That means a superband with some of Cincinnati’s finest musicians will be performing a very special Frank Zappa album in its entirety on the most twisted night of the year. There’s no cover. The mystery album will be performed live in its entirety beginning at 9pm, and a set of Zappa favorites will follow at around 11:30. Expect wildness and frivolity–and join in the freak show yourself, wearing your craziest costume and acting like characters in Frank Zappa songs. To slightly misquote a song from the first Mothers of Invention album, “Who could imagine…that they would freak out…in Cincinnati?”

Exactly what Frank Zappa album will be performed, it turns out, is a bit of a mystery. Actually it’s more than that: it’s a great BIG mystery, and I was hoping that, since I knew Dominic Marino personally and have from time to time offered him a little support in the form of social media, he might give the inside scoop if I promised to keep a secret, but his lips are sealed. And that’s a bit troubling, as Zappa’s discography consists of exactly 100 albums. Nonetheless, I put on my detective thinking cap and, along with the help of some other Zappaphiles, made some deductions. When analyzing the clues that Urban Artifact has been leaking about the mystery album, it seems to us that it must be Joe’s Garage. Can we expect a live performance of acts I, II, & III? Will there be more theatrics than just a musical performance? How are they going to pull off things like the Central ScrEnutinizer, Sy Borg, and difficult tunes such as “Keep It Greasy” and “Wet T-Shirt Nite”?

The instrumentation of this Cincinnati superband also suggests that this album may be Joe’s Garage, the musicians in questions being Brad Myers (Ray’s Music Exchange, Jeremy Pinnell & The 55s, Aja), Brandon Scott Coleman (local jazz guitarist who has been playing with EVERYONE lately), Steve Goers (adjunct professor for CCM’s Musical Theater program and session keyboardist around town), Kristin Agee (Us, Today, The Lovers), Devon Leigh (The Qtet, Eclipse), Aaron Jacobs (the busiest bass player in Cincinnati), and Dominic Marino (Blue Wisp Big Band, The Cincy Brass, and founder of Urban Artifact).

The event promises a live performance of the mystery album at 9pm, plus a second set of “Zappa favorites” to follow—and from the special guest appearances list, it seems to me we should expect a horn section for the second set.

This is the first ZAPPAWEEN in what Urban Artifact hopes to be many; let’s make it one to remember!

Zappaween another picture to use

A Conversation with Bill Frisell, Part 2

In my previous blog entry I discussed some matters leading up to my conversation with Bill Frisell, but there’s a little more to it. At I began walking toward the front of the stage one of the Emery Theatre ushers asked if she could help me, at which point I said if possible I would like to talk to Bill Frisell for a second. At that point Frisell was on the stage, and the crowd mingling about near the foot of the stage led me to believe that in the next couple minutes he’d be chatting with us. The usher ended up walking up to the stage and telling Frisell my request, and shortly thereafter he walked down to where everyone was standing. Continue reading “A Conversation with Bill Frisell, Part 2”

Frank Zappa, Meet CCM

Sunday, October 14 at 7 PM at the Patricia Corbett Theater at College- Conservatory of Music the Jazz Lab Band will devote the entire evening to the music of Frank Zappa. For part of the show, Apostrophe – possibly Zappa’s most famous album – will be played in its entirely by an octet, with arrangements by Dominic Marino. Other selections will include “Peaches en Regalia,” “Night School,” “King Kong” and more. Because Zappa used radically different instrumentation than CCM will employ for most of this material, it will be intriguing to hear how this music translates – and what fun it must be to re-arrange and perform such a bizarre batch of tunes. Tickets to “Mothers of Invention – The Music of Frank Zappa” are $12 for general admission, $6 for non-UC students and FREE for UC students with valid ID. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at

It’s worth pointing out that Frank Zappa had some history and connections not only in Cincinnati but at UC, where this concert will take place. He played the University of Cincinnati repeatedly, and one of his first drummers, Art Tripp, was actually a CCM student who ended up working with avant-garde composer John Cage when he became composer composer in residence at CCM. Here’s some footage of Zappa & the Mothers of Invention w/Art Tripp on drums playing music like it’s meant to be played: