Frank Zappa, Hot Rats

Christopher R. Weingarten

By Christopher R. Weingarten

on 12.18.11 in Reviews

Hot Rats

Frank Zappa
A great place for his searing guitar solos to shine

His first record sans Mothers (save the hyper-experimental tape-manipulation tornado Lumpy Gravy), Hot Rats is a jazz-fusion essential, mixing deviously complex rockers like the classic Rimsky-Korsakov funk of “Peaches En Regalia” with sprawling jams like the sizzling 16-minute skronk-boogie “The Gumbo Variations” (featuring seven minutes of rabid saxophone seizures from Mother Ian Underwood). A surprise hit in England considering its jazz lilt and instrumental content (the one vocal track is coarsely ribbited out by Captain Beefheart, no less), this is a venerated gateway to the Zappa catalogue and a great place for his searing guitar solos to shine, completely unadorned by wonky time-signatures and jarring tape-edits.