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.)
Frank Zappa's music is not easy to convert to the stage of the jazz band. Although Zappa's zany compositions have always attracted some of the more adventurous jazz players, the actual jazz content of the tunes is minimal. Italian keyboardist Riccardo Fassi takes his Tankio Band of twelve players plus selected guests through a dozen Zappa charts with mixed results. Curiously, Fassi is most successful when he diverges from the structures of the tunes. When he sticks too closely to the melodies and chords, translating them into Kentonesque big band blasts, the results are less satisfying. The quality of the soloists vary, but guest trumpeter Flavio Boltro, accordionist Antonello Salis, and band member alto saxophonist Sandro Satta dish up some of the most compelling individual work.
Official Release #83. At the time of Frank Zappa's passing in late 1993, he left a number of projects in varying stages of completeness. Some of these had gotten no further than the so-called "build-reel" stage. It was at this preliminary phase that the artist had done little more than set aside various and sundry audio on the back-burner in his Utility Muffin Research Kitchen home studio. One Shot Deal (2008) is a single-CD compilation taken from a number of disparate sources – including a pair of tunes from Zappa's "build reels." As the set's co-producer Gail Zappa explains in her inimitable style in the brief liner notes essay "…the guitar was the main element for me…." With that as an unofficial mandate, the 5-plus minutes – which cover the meaty nine-year span of 1972 to 1981 – is undeniably fret-centric.
Zappa Records presents The Roxy Performances. A 7-Disc Box Set that contains the MOTHERLODE of all things Roxy. All 4 public shows from December 9 & 10 1973, remixed in 2016 and presented in their entirety for the first time. Also included is the sound check from December 8th and bonus content that features rehearsal nuggets and unreleased tracks along with highlights from the recording session at Bolic Studios that took place in conjunction with the filming dates. Recording Medium: #M Scotch 2inch 16 Track Analog Tape @ 30ips.
Official Release #103. Performed/Arranged/Conducted by Frank Zappa. Road Tapes, Venue #3 features two complete shows from Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN. The July '70 Mothers line-up featured Flo & Eddie, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Aynsley Dunbar & Jeff Simmons. FZ's vast Vault does not contain many full shows from this time period, so that alone makes this release a special one. The tapes were recorded to stereo reel-to-reel, but not without problems. Due to their historical relevance, we felt it was worth it, warts 'n all! Venue #3 does not disappoint.
Official Release #96. Live recordings from 3 shows in Finlandia Hall, Helsinki Finland - August 23 & 24 1973. One year after the release of Frank Zappa‘s “Road Tapes, Venue #1” the Zappa Family Trust have announced a second volume in this series of “primitive audio documentary attempts to capture the essence of what was highly and improbably and even impossibly out there on the road in some of the worst audio terrain imaginable”.
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 #85. This triple volume package contains an audio documentary tracing the conception and construction of Frank Zappa's We're Only in It for the Money (1968) and Lumpy Gravy (1968) masterworks. As the second entry in the Project/Object series (the first being the MoFo Project/Object in 2006 that gathered four CDs worth of goodies from the Freak Out! era), the modus operandi for Lumpy Money (2009) remains much the same as its predecessor. Presented within are primary components from both works in several unique – and formerly unissued – incarnations and configurations. It should also be noted that neither of Zappa's mid-'90s approved masters for We're Only in It for the Money or Lumpy Gravy are found here. Instead of retreading those – which (as of this 2009 writing) remain in print on the Rykodisc label – the nearly three-and-a-half hours served up here offer an embarrassment of insight into the development of the music, as well as the modular recording style that Zappa was evermore frequently incorporating into his craft.
Official Release #7. Mothermania, subtitled The Best of the Mothers, is a compilation album by the Mothers of Invention. While the songs were previously released on Freak Out!, Absolutely Free and We're Only in It for the Money, it contains unique mixes or edits done specifically for this compilation. Mothermania is a collection of previously released tunes culled from the first three Mothers of Invention albums. So why bother? Well, it's the only early collection actually compiled by FZ. Verve released a bunch of early compilations without permission, but more importantly, this is the only place you can hear some of these mixes and edits. Many of the tunes from Freak Out! appear in different mixes, while "It Can't Happen Here" plays through without the interruptions of the Freak Out! version.