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The Yellow Shark [Original recording remastered]

Frank Zappa Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Details

1. Intro
2. Dog Breath Variations
3. Uncle Meat
4. Outrage at Valdez
5. Times Beach II
6. III Revised
7. Girl in the Magnesium Dress
8. Be-Bop Tango
9. Ruth Is Sleeping
10. None of the Above
11. Pentagon Afternoon
12. Questi Cazzi Di Piccione
13. Times Beach III
14. "Food Gathering in Post-Industrial America, 1992"
15. Welcome to the United States
16. Pound for a Brown
17. "Exercise, No. 4"
18. Get Whitey
19. G-Spot Tornado

Product Description


Released shortly after his death in 1993, The Yellow Shark represents one of the only accurate performances of Frank Zappa's "serious" orchestral music--at least as far as the composer was concerned. Assembled from a series of sold-out performances in Germany by the Ensemble Moderne, the set includes re-workings of old favorites like "The Dog Breath Variations" and "Uncle Meat," live arrangements of some of his hairiest computer music like "The Girl in the Magnesium Dress" and "G-Spot Tornado" and new works by Zappa composed specifically for the event. The performances are astonishing and the music? Pure Zappa. --Andrew Boscardin

Album Description

The 26-member Ensemble Modern performs FZ's 'most-humanly-impossible-to-play' compositions. Piano duets, string quintets & small ballets. Simply exquisite, with a 60-page booklet to explain it all. Originally released in 1993, it stayed on the classical chart for most of `94. Includes the tracks 'Outrage At Valdez,' 'None Of The Above,' & 'Welcome To The United States', plus arrangements of some of the most fiendishly difficult pieces from FZ's back catalogue & even a 'greatest hit' or two (some would pick this as the definitive version of 'Dog Breath Variations'). Sadly, this was the last album released by FZ during his lifetime. The didipak and the booklet are housed in a slipcase. Rykodisc.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificate musical journey Sept. 29 2003
Format:Audio CD
This 72 minute long album features 18 Zappa compositions. Some pieces were written in the late sixties, but it's mostly material from its present. Everything old, though, is reworked and orchestrated for Ensemble Modern who do a GREAT job performing the music throughout the album. It's a very fresh, well performed and hi-tech sounding recording. It starts off with a nostalgic "Dog Breath/Uncle Meat" medley, continues with a beautiful ballad called "Outrage at Valdez".
The classic "Bebop Tango" is also performed but reworked featuring a new part written specifically for this recording.
"Ruth Is Sleeping" is an advance six minute piece written for, and performed on two pianos - truly inspiring as is "Get Whitey" (definitive highlight).
"Food Gathering..." and "Welcome To The U.S." are hilarious pieces of musical comedy - Cracks me up!
The album rounds off with Zappa conducting the ensemble playing "G-Spot Tornado"; a strong and perfect finish that was appreciated with a 15 minute standing ovation according to a FZ interview I read some time ago (on the recording the applause fade after two minutes).
The booklet is very informative - 30 pages featuring a lot of photos from the recoding and the rehearsals plus a LONG story about the whole project as well as commentary about EVERY PIECE from both Frank Zappa and the conductor Peter Rundel.
This recording is perfect proof that Frank Zappa was way more than a rock'n'roll guitar player, which unfortunately is the only way many saw him, and still do. He was and is an underrated composer and this is some of best work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 20th Century, aka Frank Zappa. June 4 2004
Format:Audio CD
When I bought this album, I saw in the cover an old Zappa, with tired eyes and sad hair. At the same time, I saw a man with wise sight and big music in his mind. Ten minuts after, when I heard the album, my words were: this man is God.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Will bring tears Oct. 20 2003
Format:Audio CD
The music found here is simply the best there is. Even people who don't appreciate classical music will enjoy this album.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A very sad album June 13 2003
Format:Audio CD
This was recorded on a European tour just before Zappa's death and relased just after. The picture on the cover looks like it was taken at Zappa's deathbed.
This CD was very popular on "classical-crossover" radio stations. It reached number 2 on the classic music charts. This CD received the only Grammy award Zappa ever won for music. Civilization Phaze III go the Grammy for packaging.
This is another of Zappa's orchestral albums, where we plays his most complicated compositions with a small orchestra. I have to admit that I don't always get it. He doesn't just play his rock tunes with an orchestra. He greatly rearranges them so that they are more discordant. Alot of it sounds like woodwind and horn players going off and doing there own thing.
This is one of the better Zappa Orchestra albums. There are some great piano duets. Most of the tracks near the end of the CD really rock (in an orchestral sort of way). But many of the earlier tunes are rather sad and boring, to match the CD cover.
There is also a 15 minute performace art interlude, where there is talk of a future society where everything is broken and a section where a German reads a US immigration form. None of this is something would want to hear more than once. And it breaks up the musical flow of the album.
Zappa is still one of the most important artists in rock history, and I did enjoy some of his earlier orchestral forays, with Lumpy Gravy and Uncle Meat.
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Format:Audio CD
This cd was great when it was released so many years ago, and it still is fresh when you put it in to listen to. Zappa's compositions are played by a band of classical folk who really wanted to be there (Unlike the LSO and FZ's work with them ten years prior to this release) and wanted to impress frank. Fact is, he discouraged them from trying G SPOT, but they worked so hard at it, that he finally gave in... if you like classical music, written by someone while you have been alive.... this will do well. Frank Zappa fans have been treated through his whole collection of classical oriented music, either ORCHESTRAL FAVORITES, or LSO I and II, and others.. so no suprize here that frank finally attracted the talented EM to perform his music before he died. ten out of ten.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This Is A Must Own Feb. 19 2003
Format:Audio CD
I can't add much to the other reviews except to say that this is an extraordinary performance of some of the most difficult chamber and orchestral music ever composed. Some of these tracks (most notably, G Spot Tornado) were composed and performed on the Synclavier Computer, and were never intended to be performed by a live ensemble. The fact that the Ensemble Modern was able to give a convincing performance is remarkable.
Also, regarding the reviewer who mentions Nancarrow, I had the absolute pleasure of seeing the Ensemble Modern perform live at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC shortly after this album was released, and in addition to several pieces from this album they also performed two Nancarrow works. It was a stunning evening of music. Seek out Ensemble Modern recordings wherever you can!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A snob's perspective:
There was an interview I was reading by chance--perhaps on an airplane--where Zappa was discussing the state of modern orchestral music. Read more
Published on Aug. 28 2002 by Music Person
5.0 out of 5 stars what an epitaph
ThisCD is almost as good as UNCLE MEAT-- and UM was worth 6 stars. Difficult time signatures. Interesting monologues.
Published on April 14 2002 by Al Brooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Great Album!!!
I just got the album today and listened to it three times already. Zappa's work is really impossible to play but these guys are just rockin!! Read more
Published on Dec 4 2001 by Mehmet C. Yavuz
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply Genious
This is one of Zappa's albums that made me realize he was a musical genious and not just a musician with an abstract form of expression. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Sad album
This was recorded on a European tour just before Zappa's death and relased just after. The picture on the cover looks like it was taken at Zappa's deathbed. Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2001 by kireviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars non stop
i was late in discovering frank zappa. i had only known zappa's work for two years when 'yellow shark' was released. Read more
Published on July 15 2001 by Karlis Neihofere
5.0 out of 5 stars of the highest quality
This is one of frank's top albums, it has glorious zappa music played wonderfully by a really dedicated team. There's old faves like uncle meat, pound for a brown, bebop tango. Read more
Published on June 25 2001 by "theslime"
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