Official Release #93. Conceived, Composed & Produced by Frank Zappa. The two-disc compilation of alternative takes titled Understanding America is intended for devoted fans only. It's scattershot material, tied together loosely by one theme: Zappa's acerbic mistrust of American culture. Throughout the '60s, '70s, and '80s, social satire made up a huge amount of his catalog, so Big Brother, media outlets, organized religion, and recreational drugs are all subject to attack here. The gold nugget is the unreleased 25-minute "Porn Wars Deluxe," a Negativland-esque collage that pairs together samples of music with clips from the 1985 PMRC Senate hearings, for which Zappa played an integral role defending against censorship.
Official Release #107. Uncle Meat gets the deluxe treatment in this three CD Project/Object Audio Documentary. Included is the original 1969 vinyl mix (restored, remastered and available digitally for the first time), an original sequence that includes unique source material and bonus vault tracks mostly compiled from the recording sessions at Apostolic Studios in NYC between 1967 and 1969.
AAAFNRAA was one of Zappa's mottoes. It stood for Anything Anytime Anyplace For No Reason At All. The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle was released as a digital download on iTunes on December 15, 2006. It consists of five previously unreleased tracks performed by Frank Zappa, and six new tracks featuring the Zappa family. (AAAFNRAA stands for "Anything Anytime Anywhere for No Reason At All", Zappa's motto of sorts.)
Beat the Boots III is a set of digitally downloadable albums by Frank Zappa. It compiles bootleg recordings which were previously available illegally, released by Zappa Records in 2009 as part of the Zappas' campaign to dissuade Frank Zappa fans from buying illegal recordings of his concerts. These albums are not distributed as physical items but only as Digital downloads.
The Ed Palermo Big Band is led by alto saxist and arranger Ed Palermo; he has had this big band with much of the same personnel for over 30 years, which is an impressive feat in itself, and has had his band performing the music of Frank Zappa for 20 years. There are a number of ensembles performing the music of Frank Zappa, who is now recognized as one of the great 20th century American composers, but no one does it with this ease, skill and originality! The band is a 18 piece ensemble of five woodwind players, four trumpeters, three trombonists, two keyboardists, guitar, violin, bass and drum. All of these musicians are NYC professionals, and they have been playing this music for years with Ed, because, like Ed, they recognize and appreciate the genius inherent in the huge body of Zappa's work, and they want to keep this great music alive and in front of the public. OH NO! NOT JAZZ!! consists of two discs: The first disc further explores Ed's distinctive, big band interpretations of the music of Frank Zappa, while the second disc features Ed's own, colorful compositions.
Not just an album of interpretations, King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa was an active collaboration; Frank Zappa arranged all of the selections, played guitar on one, and contributed a new, nearly 20-minute orchestral composition for the occasion. Made in the wake of Ponty's appearance on Zappa's jazz-rock masterpiece Hot Rats, these 1969 recordings were significant developments in both musicians' careers. In terms of jazz-rock fusion, Zappa was one of the few musicians from the rock side of the equation who captured the complexity – not just the feel – of jazz, and this project was an indicator of his growing credibility as a composer. For Ponty's part, King Kong marked the first time he had recorded as a leader in a fusion-oriented milieu (though Zappa's brand of experimentalism didn't really foreshadow Ponty's own subsequent work).