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July/August 2006

Bozzio and Metropole Orkest
Chamber Works
Favored Nations

A formidable orchestral work by the one-time Frank Zappa sideman who put his stamp on Zappa’s notoriously challenging drum feature “The Black Page,” this collaboration with Holland’s 60-piece Metropole Orkest shows the influence of Bozzio’s former mentor as well as Zappa’s own hero, classical composer Edgard Varèse. In five movements composed for drum set and orchestra, Bozzio plays virtuosic unison lines with the strings and wind instruments, executed with signature dexterity and dazzling speed on tuned tom-toms, snare and bass drums, hi-hat and cymbals.

The seven-minute “Ibo” comes across as Gene Krupa jamming with Xavier Cugat’s orchestra while the 10-minute “Hypnotic,” which opens with solo toms and cymbals statements from Bozzio, contains cinematic flourishes marked by the drummer’s uncannily precise, inherently melodic playing on the kit. And the kinetic “Untitled,” underscored by Oriental touches in the flutes and woodwinds, features some of Bozzio’s most astonishing displays of virtuosity. The drummer-composer’s closing statement, “Opus One: Self Portrait With Scar,” is an imposing, Stravinsky-influenced work that also recalls Zappa’s “difficult music” projects like Orchestral Favorites.

Originally published in July/August 2006
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