Palermo’s three originals more than hold their own. The title of “Dirty White Bucks” might suggest a nod to Zappa’s obsession with 1950s teen culture, but it’s not a Ruben & the Jets outtake; rather, it’s a real swinger of a tune, full of drama and animation. “Vengeance” projects a film-noir ambience while “The Goat Patrol” confirms that-to paraphrase an album title from the man-for this well-oiled 17-piece unit, one size doesn’t fit all.“ – JazzTimes April, 2019
Over the past two decades Ed Palermo has earned an avid international following with his brilliantly executed, reverently irreverent arrangements of Frank Zappa’s tempestuous and wildly inventive music. On previous albums the New Jersey saxophonist, composer and arranger infused the world of Zappalogy with his own brand of incisive wit and bracing improvisation. He doesn’t neglect Zappa on his fourth Cuneiform dispatch One Child Left Behind but instead of offering another full Frank immersion he turns his big band loose like it’s playing one of its regular gigs. Exploring an expansive array of moods and material, the band delivers an audaciously entertaining program that’s full of surprises.
Featuring the same formidable cast of players as on his last release, Oh No! Not Jazz!!, the 18-piece band interprets a fatalistic film theme and a gorgeous Neil Young ballad. They demolish an existential Leiber and Stoller hit and rhapsodize with an intoxicating Los Lobos classic. Palermo also throws in some beautifully crafted originals, and of course offers a generous helping of Zappa too. As he’s quick to acknowledge, One Child “is more of a mixed bag, where my past albums were more thematic. I’ve been wanting to mix it up like we do at our live shows. These pieces are all road tested, and it felt like a good time to document them.”
Longtime fans of the Palermo band can rest assured that Zappa is well represented on One Child, which features veteran Zappa vocalist Napoleon Murphy Brock on three compositions by Zappa. Speaking of authentic Zappalogy, Frank’s younger sister, Candy Zappa, provides vocals on two tracks.
At this point, the Palermo Big Band has honed some 300 Zappa arrangements, while steadily expanding the band’s book with other composer’s work and his originals, all featuring the kind of impressive arrangements and ensemble work that make One Child such a revelation. Nothing demonstrates the ensemble’s ongoing vitality better than the stellar cast of players; many of these top-shelf musicians have been in the band for more than a decade, and they handle the diverse array of material with aplomb. One Child Left Behind doesn’t leave Zappa behind, but it makes a compelling case that the Palermo bandwagon can comfortably accommodate a wild and wooly menagerie.
released January 22, 2016
The Ed Palermo Big Band:
Ed Palermo – band leader, arranger, alto sax
Barbara Cifelli – baritone sax, Eb mutant clarinet
Matthew Ingman – bass trombone
Charles Gordon – lead trombone
Ronnie Buttacavoli – lead trumpet
Katie Jacoby – 6-string violin and regular violin as designed by God
John Bailey – trumpet, but not the lead trumpet
Clifford Lyons – lead alto sax, clarinet
Phil Chester – 2nd alto sax, flute, piccolo, soprano sax
Bill Straub – lead tenor sax, flute, clarinet
Ben Kono – 2nd tenor sax, flute, oboe
Michael Boschen – trombone, but not the lead trombone
Ray Marchica – drums
Paul Adamy – electric bass
Bob Quaranta – acoustic piano
Ted Kooshian – electric keyboards
Bruce McDaniel – guitar, vocals
Producer: Bruce McDaniel, with early production work on the initial sessions by Steve Jankowski
Executive Producer: Wifty Von Weasel
Recorded March 20-30 and July 28-30, 2014 at Jankland Recording, Wall Township, NJ.
Mixing, additional recording, and mastering by Bruce McDaniel.
Artwork: Nancy Palermo
Photos: All of the photos are so old that I think it’s safe to say that all of the photographers are long gone. They be dead now.
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