To simplify my life considerably, I'm going to combine the "reviews" of all six Stage releases into a single entry, even though they were released individually. Also, to save a lot of time and effort, I'm not going to give complete track listings of the twelve discs, or do song-by-song reviews (hey, we're talking over 800 minutes of music here, give me a break). If you need to know the track listings, they're probably available through an on-line music sales site like CDNow, or an information site like the All Music Guide. There's probably a few other Zappa sites that list them as well. Maybe one day when I have the time, I'll come back and expand this section to really cover all twelve discs in detail. Until then, I'll just give some general facts and opinions, focusing on highlights and material unique to the Stage series.
RCA Red Seal is a classical music label and is now part of Sony Masterworks. The Red Seal label was begun in 1902 by the Gramophone Company in the United Kingdom and was quickly adopted by its United States affiliate, the Victor Talking Machine Company, and its president, Eldridge R. Johnson. Distinctive, red paper information labels affixed to the centre of the two affiliated companies' black shellac discs inspired the name. Led by the work of the great tenor Enrico Caruso, Victor's Red Seal Records changed the perception of recorded music.
Masters Of American Music The Story Of Jazz may be the most concise informative documentary on jazz to date. Five discs consisting of six and a half hours of material is presented in concise, informative segments. Comparisons to Ken Burns Jazz are inevitable, but unnecessary. This documentary combines extremely rare footage of performances and interviews to analyze the evolution of jazz and highlight four of its icons. Originally a television 'mini-series', the release of this limited edition digitally re-mastered set is good news for the world of jazz.
Pebbles is an extensive series of compilation albums in both LP and CD formats that have been issued on several record labels, though mostly by AIP. Together with the companion Highs in the Mid-Sixties series, the Pebbles series made available over 800 obscure, mostly American "Original Punk Rock" songs recorded in the mid-1960s - primarily known today as the garage rock and psychedelic rock genres - that were previously known only to a handful of collectors. In 2007, the release of the Pebbles, Volume 11: Northern California CD marked the final album in the Pebbles series (curiously, Vol. 12 had been issued in 1999)…