Archive for February, 2015

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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Zappateer and Image Master Al Fresco has just posted a group of shoots of the Mothers featuring Del Casher, probably taken during summer 1966. “The Mothers with Del Casher” is the name of post at zappateers, go there to see them all. The images are sometime a few, more often a lot blurred, so I decided to give some of them more “agony”, so to say. Here they are again, agonized!

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

The Mothers with Del Casher, circa 1966

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As pointed out by Al Fresco in his already mentioned zappateers post, the shooting “coincides with the footage of The Mothers playing & seen on Sex In Today´s World documentary, filmed at TTG Studios in Hollywood on Highland Ave (around July or August 1966, according to Del)”.

A snippet of Sex In Today´s World is available through the following YouTube video (thanks IdiotBastard!):

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More about Del Casher on The Resentment Listener:
Freak Chouflée and those Del’s effects
The Casher effects

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Parma Conservatory, Auditorium del Carmine, Intermission (photo: spaziofermo)

Parma Conservatory, Auditorium del Carmine, Intermission (photo: spaziofermo)

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On December 18, 2013 Danilo Grassi conducted The Symphonic Orchestra Giuseppe Verdi of Milano for a Zappa program that included music from The Yellow Shark. As pointed out elsewhere here, the performance sounded below the standard of other European orchestras or ensembles (namely WDR Sinfonieorchester, The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Ensemble Ascolta, Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble, Ensemble Kontraste, Ensemble MusikFabrik, Norwegian Wind Ensemble, Absolute Ensemble, Ensemble Ambrosius), not to mention the Ensemble Modern.

Grassi holds the Chair of Percussion Instruments at the A. Boito Conservatory in Parma and on January 31, 2015 conducted the Contemporary Music Group of the Parma Conservatory (Gruppo di Musica Contemporanea del Conservatorio “A.Boito” di Parma), an orchestra that consists of students and teachers of the institution. At the Auditorium del Carmine in Parma they performed the following program:

Edgar Varèse: Octandre
Frank Zappa – The Yellow Shark:
Be-Bop Tango
Outrage at Valdez
Times Beach III
The Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat
Questi Cazzi di Piccione
G-spot Tornado

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Danilo Grassi conducting (photo: spaziofermo)

Danilo Grassi conducting (photo: spaziofermo)

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The concert was part of a series of events, called “Parole da ascoltare” managed by the Conservatory and aimed to present new publications, performing music related to the books. On January 31, right after Octandre, Franco Fabbri and Giordano Montecchi presented “Frank Zappa. Rock come prassi compositiva“, a recent book by the latter, who is Professor of Music History and Musicology at the Parma Conservatory.

Fabbri is a musicologist and a broadcaster, also known as leading member of Stormy Six, an Italian progressive and folk rock band founded in Milan in 1966.

Franco Fabbri (left) and Giordano Montecchi (right) (photo: spaziofermo)

Franco Fabbri (left) and Giordano Montecchi (right) (photo: spaziofermo)

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Franco Fabbri (left) and Giordano Montecchi (right) (photo: spaziofermo)

Franco Fabbri (left) and Giordano Montecchi (right) (photo: spaziofermo)

The dynamic duo talked about Zappa, emphasizing on the conceptual continuity approach and trying to communicate the probably well educated and disciplined Conservatory audience that there should not be any a priori difference between rock amplified ensembles and large symphony orchestras as far as quality of the musical matter. Montecchi/Fabbri as one showed how categories like popular or serious music melt into the Zappa output, and the book of Montecchi is a great contribution in such a direction.

Surprisingly enough, the Zappa program that followed sounded fresher than the Milan December 2013 counterpart. After a quite timid Be-Bop Tango, the Group gained more confidence with Outrage at Valdez (that would have been even fit as an opener) and gave a careful rendition of Times Beach III, a chamber ensemble piece that took the maximum advantage from the acoustics of the venue, perfect for chamber music, but with a little too much reverberation for larger orchestras. The Dog/Meat performance can be improved but had the right swing. Piccione was the appropriate chance to exhibit a “short cloth neck ornament, currently in resurgence”, in the shape of a yellow shark, handmade by a Group fan! G-spot as finale, and shortly after as encore, that run even better, as live take 2.

Danilo Grassi conducting (photo: spaziofermo)

Danilo Grassi conducting (photo: spaziofermo)

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"Questi Cazzi di Piccione" theatrical pistol (photo: spaziofermo)

“Questi Cazzi di Piccione” theatrical pistol (photo: spaziofermo)

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The Contemporary Music Group of the Parma Conservatory conducted by Danilo Grassi (photo: spaziofermo)

The Contemporary Music Group of the Parma Conservatory conducted by Danilo Grassi (photo: spaziofermo)

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showing the yellow shark cloth neck ornament (photo: spaziofermo)

showing the yellow shark cloth neck ornament (photo: spaziofermo)

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This concert could be a sign of a proper Grassi “strategic retreat” from the Italian large orchestras environment, represented here by The Symphonic Orchestra Giuseppe Verdi of Milano. Music needs rehearsals and sometimes, due to financial restrictions or to the management style (please forgive the euphemism) of some old orchestral institutions, concerts are one-shot deals played with little care. To put it differently, a Group of enthusiastic Conservatory students and teachers made clear that they may have more chances to reach the “crux of the biscuit” than a big organization whose first mission should be to deliver reference performances.

Parma Conservatory, Auditorium del Carmine, "Parole da Ascoltare", Contemporary Music Group of the Parma Conservatory, Danilo Grassi, "Varèse/Zappa", January 31, 2015

Parma Conservatory, Auditorium del Carmine, “Parole da Ascoltare”, Contemporary Music Group of the Parma Conservatory, Danilo Grassi, “Varèse/Zappa”, January 31, 2015

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Finally a personal note, I could not help including two further photographs with my 7 years daughter discussing the event with Professor Montecchi and fooling around with exquisite percussionist Giorgia Baglivo!

Professor Giordano Montecchi with a young fan (photo: spaziofermo)

Professor Giordano Montecchi with a young fan (photo: spaziofermo)

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Percussionist Giorgia Baglivo with a young fan (photo: spaziofermo)

Percussionist Giorgia Baglivo with a young fan (photo: spaziofermo)

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Follow this link for more pictures of the event.

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