A live outtake from the “free folk-jazz” collective’s March 2017 Live EP New York, “Edna’s Blues (For Zappa)” finds them in fine form, doing what they do best: performing live (at the now-closed Tea Lounge in Brooklyn), creating raucous, vivid pastorals which refract American music from far and wide into some sort of trippy, cohesive whole. Featuring 12 musicians and the bandleader Tom Csatari’s twangy guitar bounce at the helm, the track is expansive, but focused.
Releases 8 June 2017, the day of Uncivilized's Zappa tribute show (final date in 4-month residency):
Csatari on Zappa and the single:
Zappa combined doo-wop and atonal serialism with soaring themes and perpetual motion, and often called it blues. Have you seen him conduct Varèse’s Ionisation? Have you heard him play with Johnny Guitar Watson? He upheld the humor, freedom and risk of the jazz tradition, while forging his own contrarian musical language: meta-modern (post-post modern), really.
I wrote Edna in my bathroom when I used to live on Avenue C in the village. There was a Pidgeon living on the ledge of the interior air tunnel of that building while I wrote the song. One day she left and there was an egg sitting on the windowsill for a few days (originally it was called “Eggna”). The piece features some folk-jazz chords (simple with a touch of dissonance) and a long form which moves into different meters and key centers whenever it feels like it (with some cross-rhythms driving us along). We premiered it at our first show at Barbès back in 2013 (as part of Oscar Noriega’s Palimpsestic Series) and it completely tanked because there were too many rhythmic changes and I had just finished writing the song. This single version from a big band show at the now-shuttered Tea Lounge in Park Slope was recorded right around the time we were getting into a bigger more lush sound (adding flute, electronics and strings to the mixture). I guess I’d call it a romantic collage piece. My favorite part: when Dominic Mekky cues up a public domain Thomas Edison speech right when we kick the outro into high gear. The live take is mastered beautifully by KRAMER at Noise Miami (Ween, Butthole Surfers), and is being released as a digital single in celebration of our Zappa show this Thursday. Artwork by my environmental consulting company ECO Z (ecosystemz.org
— big thanks to my partner CJ!).
I caught the jazz bug from Frank Zappa in high school (by means of my first guitar teacher—a metal head Zappa historian) so this show means a lot to me. We’ll be adding transistor organ to our sound for the first time at this show!