By the time of his death in December 1993, Frank Zappa had become one of the most prolific legends in rock and roll history. As a kid, Zappa was not your typical child of the ’50s, instead listening to records from the likes of Stravinsky, Varese, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Spike Jones. One of the busiest men in music, Zappa dabbled in film, composed classical arrangements and became the Tipper Gore-led Parental Music Resource Center’s worst nightmare with his convincing testimony before Congress in 1985 regarding censorship in music.
As if recording and producing approximately 60 albums over a career that spanned parts of four decades wasn’t enough, Zappa was savvy enough to have archived thousands of his concerts and hours of unreleased studio work for future consumption. This brings us to the matter at hand, Imaginary Diseases. This latest—but certainly not last—offering features performances from Zappa’s “Petit Wazoo” tour in the fall of 1972. His 10-piece ensemble boasted a six-person horn section and, naturally, Zappa himself in all his early fuzz-tone brilliance. Because of its content and because material from this tour had been previously unreleased, Diseases is worth catching. (Al Pils)