A TRIBUTE TO FRANK ZAPPA
Based on 6 years of experience during which they have produced 2 EPs and an album (eponymous/autoproduction 2014) and taken part in the biggest jazz festivals throughout France (Jazz à Vienne, Jazz sous les Pommiers, TourcoingJazz), THE HEADSHAKERS are now rising up to a new challenge: to breathe life back into the great Frank Zappa’s gigantic masterpiece. They tackle the maestro’s masterpiece with an « accomplished groove spirit » through a new show in which the musicians render the explosive atmosphere of the 70s scene whilst respecting the creator of Mother’s of invention’s rigour and derision.
« Paying a tribute to Frank Zappa is not a conventionnal exercise and no easy feat. This musician considered one of the greatest music geniuses of the 20th century by many music lovers, who passed away in December 1993 in his early forties, was an absolutely unclassifiable artist. Those who dare to touch his masterpiece are faced with two challenges, two unfaithfulnesses thus have to be avoided: trying to synthetiser them multiples facets of this character and ommitting the contradictions that are its very essence, or, conversely, to keep only some of these facets et render a truncated portrait. We forget that Zappa was both a libertarian, sometimes schoolboyish, a sex maniac and sociologist and a gifted composer at the same time, with an extraordinary verbose admired by musicians of all persuasions, rock, jazz or learned.
In the program they designed on the invitation of the Théâtre de Saint-Amand-les- Eaux on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the master’s passing, the HeadShakers have managed to find the ideal balance. So far, this band from Lille had only covered Zappa occasionally, giving priority to its original repertoire, brassed fusion rock-jazz-funk both sophisticated and irresistibly festive spirited. Theoretically, its natural inclinations like its instrumentation (enriched with percussions/keyboard – a vital ingrédient of the zappaian world - for the occasion) led them to the period situated around 1969- 74, the instrumentation of albums like The Grand Wazoo, Apostrophe or Overnite Sensation. With, of course, a few incursions before – this « More trouble Every Day » that got the Mothers to be noticed and to sign with legendary Producer Tom Wilson 1965 – and after – the iconic « Black Page », a true rythmic minefield that drove more than one drummer mad.
The technical mastery and the flawless cohesion of the band allow it to tackle some Zappa’s craziest scores, yet its accomplished groove spirit and smiling collectedness defuse any risk of academic or purely intellectual reading. Each member has the opportunity to shine as a soloist, needless to say with a spécial mention for guitarist Mike Varlet who does have to blush from the comparison with the inexhaustible and brilliant improviser Zappa was.
Regarding the songs (a Small half of the show), the HeadShakers have invited the amazing Gino Ceccarelli, on the impressive range of registers, successively powerful and very high in a heavy metal way in « My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama » and guttural in the way of Captain Beefheart in « Willie The Pimp ». He is entirely at ease both in the role of the master of cérémonies via a humorous dramatization of « Cletus Awreetus Awrightus » (in French), allowing non-English speakers to have a taste of the Amercian’s surrealistic and corrosive humour. »
The team is composed of:
- Gino CECCARELLI: vocals
- Mike VARLET: guitar
- Eric NAVET: vibraphone/marimba
- Pierre-Yves LANGLOIS: saxophone/backing vocals
- Samuel MARTHE: trombone/backing vocals
- Franck BEELE: trumpet
- Guillaume DUMONT: bass/backing vocals
- Arnaud HAVET: battery
- Remy CHARLET: keyboard