Sheik Your Zappa

Stefano Bollani Sheik Yer Zappa Decca ****

A project that couldn’t be more different to the more demure Joy in Spite of Everything.

This Zappa labour of love by the Italian international jazz piano star, surprisingly tender in places despite the larking about necessary, Bollani is joined by vibist Jason Adasiewicz, trombonist Josh Roseman, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jim Black, the puckish pianist opening up with a solo statement before the band come in raucously on his own tune ‘A Cosmik Intro’ Roseman boisterously exuding a strongly-flavoured Jimmy Knepper-like swagger.

Recorded live the album includes Bollani originals and one co-penned with vibist Adasiewicz plus Zappa tunes the bawdy ‘Bobby Brown Goes Down’ on which Bollani sings in a mock-serious voice (from gloriously titled 1979 album Sheik Yerbouti), ‘Blessed Relief’, Adasiewicz taking an absorbing solo eventually after an elaborate Grenadier work-out and wah-wah trombone, ‘Eat That Question’ (from 1972’s The Grand Wazoo), ‘Peaches en Regalia’ (from 1969’s Hot Rats) and the title track of ‘Uncle Meat,’ again released in 1969. Ferocious improvising with a real spirit to it and great ideas, that’s this album in brief. Grab some quality listening time. SG