Napoleon Murphy Brock (US)

Letztes Jahr besuchte Napoleon die Zappanale ja nur peripher und einige fragten: Warum tritt er nicht mit auf?
Das war im letzten Jahr auch sehr spontan ... in diesem Jahr ist die Sache etwas anders: He’s back!!!

Napoleon zählt zu den Special Guest der Shows der Ed Palermo Big Band – und genau mit dieser werden wir ihn zur Zappanale #30 gemeinsam auf der Bühne sehen.

Am 8. August 1973 wurde Frank Zappa von seinem Roadmanager Marty Perellis darauf aufmerksam gemacht, dass eine unglaubliche Band mit einem herausragenden Leadsänger in der Stadt auftreten würde und dass es sicher gut sein würde, wenn er selbst hinzukäme und es sich anschauen würde. Als Zappa zu dem Club kam und sich die Show ansah, sah er ein junges Talent singen, tanzen, Saxophon, Flöte und Keyboard spielen, und das in einer Weise die ausdrückte, dass er mehr Spaß hatte als alle anderen in diesem Club.

Nachdem er dem jungen Mann und seiner sehr disziplinierten Band zwei Stunden zugeschaut und zugehört hatte, stellte er sich selbst als Frank Zappa vor, und der junge Mann stellte sich als Napoleon Murphy Brock vor. Die nächsten Worte aus Zappas Mund waren: "Du bist mein neuer Leadsänger."

Dieser Sänger und Saxophonist ist immer noch eng mit der Musik Frank Zappas verbunden, insbesondere aufgrund der unglaublich verschiedenartigen Kompositionen, die Zappa komponiert hat, um den großen Umfang der stimmlichen Talente und die Bühnenpräsenz unterzubringen, die NMB besitzt. Er ist das einzige Mitglied der letzten Formation der Mothers of Invention, bei der er mit Zappa bei vier Kompositionen zusammengearbeitet hat:

DUMMY UP", "THE BOOGER MAN", "THE ROOM SERVICE RAP", and "IT'S ALL RIGHT" – der letzte funkige Bluessong auf ROXY AND ELSEWHERE.

In der ersten Dekade des neuen Jahrhunderts wirkte er bei Shows der ersten Zappa Plays Zappa Tour mit Dweezil Zappa mit, bei der auch Steve Vai (Gitarre) und Terry Bozzio (Drums) mitspielten.

Im Jahr 2009 gewannen sowohl Napoleon als aus Steve Vai jeder einen Grammy für ihre Performance des Titels "Peaches en Regalia", der erstmalig im Jahr 1969 auf Zappas Album “Hot Rats” erschien.

In den letzten Jahren tourte Napoleon Murphy Brock mit den Grandmothers Of Invention und er tourte mit vielen umjubelten Zappa-Tribute-Bands. Er wurde sogar auserwählt, um Leadsänger, Frontmann und Tanzchoreograph für das George Duke Funk/Jazz Ensemble zu fungieren - welches die weltbekannte Latin-Percussionistin Sheila E einschloss - mit welchem er auch tourte und acht erfolgreiche Alben aufnahm.

Momentan ist Napoleon allein, trotzdem tourt und tritt er auf, um die Brillanz von Frank Zappas Musik der 70er weiterleben zu lassen, bei der er direkt involviert war. Er nennt das: Total Music Theatre.

Man kann es auch als eine Ehrung ansehen, dass sich einige der letzten Veröffentlichungen des ZFT sehr auf seine Beteiligung fokussieren: FZ/OZ, JOE'S CAMOUFLAGE - eine Tour-Probe-CD unter Mitwirken von Napoleon an den Keyboards und Alt-Sax - wie auch die Videoveröffentlichung, jetzt in digitaler Form, von A TOKEN OF MY EXTREME, und schließlich ROXY BY PROXY.



Ensemble Musikfabrik (DE)

“Musikfabrik plays Zappa”

Ever since its formation, Ensemble Musikfabrik has had the reputation of being one of the leading ensembles for contemporary music. Following the literal meaning of its name, Ensemble Musikfabrik is particularly dedicated to artistic innovation. New, unknown, and often personally commissioned works in unusual media are typical of their productions. The results of their extensive work, usually taking place in close collaboration with the composers, are presented by the Cologne-based international soloist ensemble in about 80 concerts a year in both Germany and abroad, at Festivals, in their own series “Musikfabrik in WDR” and in regular radio recordings and CD productions.

The musicians themselves take the responsibility for making all-important decisions. Exploring forms of modern communication, and new possibilities for expression in musical and theatrical areas, are a focal point. Interdisciplinary projects that can include live electronics, dance, theatre, film, literature and creative artists, along with chamber music, and the confrontation with works using open form and improvisation, extend the traditional conducted ensemble concerts. Lecture concerts and the experimentation with alternative concert forms involving audience participation are also part of this. Thanks to its extraordinary profile, and its superb artistic quality, the Ensemble Musikfabrik is sought after world wide and is a trusted partner of renowned composers and conductors. Since 2013 the ensemble owns a complete replicated set of the Harry Partch instruments. Furthermore, the double bell brass instruments are another outstanding trait of the ensemble's eagerness to experiment.

The ensemble’s guest list is as prominent as it is long: It includes Mark Andre, Louis Andriessen, Stefan Asbury, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Unsuk Chin, Péter Eötvös, Brian Ferneyhough, Heiner Goebbels, Toshio Hosokawa, Michael Jarrell, Mauricio Kagel, Helmut Lachenmann, David Lang, Liza Lim, Benedict Mason, Mouse on Mars, Carlus Padrissa (La Fura dels Baus), Emilio Pomàrico, Enno Poppe, Wolfgang Rihm, Peter Rundel, Rebecca Saunders, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ilan Volkov and Sasha Waltz.

Ensemble Musikfabrik is supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Kunststiftung NRW supports the series “Musikfabrik in WDR”.

Ali N. Askin, who will perform at Z#30 too, has arranged Zappa music for the Ensemble Musikfabrik. At an interview Ali answered to the question „How does the cooperation at the rehearsals with Ensemble Musikfabrik turn out? Are you so to speak the one to pass on the Zappa groove?“ :
„Well I don't have to hand on the groove that much, because the whole „band“ is grooving wonderfully by itself. They have a terrific rhythm secection with all the typical rock instruments, drum set, e-bass, e-guitar, keyboards. That's a very good basis, I don't have a lot to tell. The co-work is beginning on a very high level. The only thing what I am adding here and there are maybe such small gestural things or dynamic. And because we don't have a conductor it is a very pleasant teamwork because it is emerging from the group itself. So I don't have plenty to do.“

... so get into the groove!


Napoleon Murphy Brock & Mats Öberg

Musicians talk about mixed feelings when they remember their auditions for Mastermind Frank Zappa. Nevertheless they consider it a musical accolade to have been part of one his band Projects or the other. Zappa was considered very demanding and meticulous when it came to the realization of his complex musical ideas and required the highest level of virtuosity and professionalism. But for a 16-year-old teenager from Stockholm this strict rules did not seem to apply: 1988 – Zappa is on his last big world tour – there is a meeting between the two. Before the concert in Stockholm Mats Öberg, blind from birth, presents a recording of T’Mershi Duween to Zappa, which he recorded together with Morgan Ågren and their former band Zappstetoot. Consequently he and Morgan are immediately invited as guest musicians for that evening’s show. And this concert in Stockholm becomes a highlight of the "Broadway The Hard Way" tour. For Mats Öberg it is the beginning of a solid musical career, which, in addition to his own projects, leads him into various Zappa bands over and over again until today. For example "Zappa's Universe", along with Mike Keneally, Steve Vai, Scott Tunes and Dweezil Zappa.

About a year ago, his musical paths crossed for the second time with those of Napoleon Murphy Brock. As early as 2003 they performed together with Denny Walley, Mike Keneally, Ed Palermo, Morgan Ågren, Tommy Thordsson and Paul Adamy as "Zappa Corner Band" at the Chamber Music Festival in Umeå (Sweden). So the two of them decided to join forces last year. The result is a program exclusively consisting of Zappa compositions, "reduced" to keyboards, saxophone and vocals.

Until now, you could experience the duo with their unusual arrangements in Scandinavia only, but with considerable success, as evidenced by the attendances.

For this year's Zappanale Mats and Napi have put their shoulders to the wheel and developed a show that should be a must for all friends of zappaesque sounds.

Mats Öberg (key)
Napoleon Murphy Brock (voc, sax, flute)


Napoleon Murphy Brock & The Peach Noise

You missed him? So did we! Without him the Zappanales somehow would be…

Well, here you go: He´s back!

On August 8th, 1973, Frank Zappa was alerted by his road manager, Marty Perellis, that an incredible band with an extraordinary lead singer was performing downtown to a standing room only audience … and that it might be wise that he come and see this for himself. When Zappa went to the club and watched the show, he saw a young talent sing, dance, play sax, flute and keyboards, in a manner that clearly made it appear that he was having more fun than even the other patrons in the club.

After two hours of observing and listening to this young man and his very disciplined band of musicians, he introduced himself as Frank Zappa, and the young man introduced himself as Napoleon Murphy Brock. The next words out of Zappa’s mouth were, “You are my new lead vocalist.”

This singer and saxophone player still is connected tightly to the music of Frank Zappa, in particular due to the incredibly diverse compositions that Zappa has written to accommodate the large volume of vocal talent and stage presence that NMB possesses. He is the only member of the last formation of the Mothers of Invention, where he collaborated with Zappa on four compositions: “DUMMY UP”, “THE BOOGER MAN”, “THE ROOM SERVICE RAP” und “IT'S ALL RIGHT” – the last funky Blues song on ROXY AND ELSEWHERE.  Together with the French band The Peach Noise Experiment, NMB will perform the more difficult pieces that Zappa wrote since the 70's and of course other favorites from the complete works of Zappa.

In the first decade of the new century he participated at shows of Dweezil’s first Zappa Plays Zappa Tour, where Steve Vai (Guitar) und Terry Bozzio (Drums) also joined. In 2009, both Napoleon and Steve Vai each won a Grammy for their performance of the title “Peaches en Regalia”, which first appeared in 1969 on Zappa's album “Hot Rats”.

In recent years, Napoleon Murphy Brock toured with the Grandmothers of Invention as well as with many highly acclaimed Zappa tribute bands. He was even chosen to act as lead singer, frontman and choreographer for the George Duke Funk/Jazz Ensemble - which included the world-famous Latin percussionist Sheila E - with whom he also toured and recorded eight successful albums.

Currently Napoleon is performing solo, nevertheless he is touring and performing to let the brilliance of Frank Zappa’s music from the 70s live on, where he was directly involved. He calls it: Total Music Theatre.

It can also be regarded as an honor that some of the recent publications of the ZFT, are focussing on his participation: FZ/OZ, JOE'S CAMOUFLAGE - a tour rehearsal CD with participation of Napoleon on keyboards and alto sax - and the video releases, now in digital form, of A TOKEN OF MY EXTREME, and finally ROXY BY PROXY.

He is accompanied by the high-energy Zappa tribute band from France, The Peach Noise Experiment Napoleon has chosen because they understand his own way to interpret the music. “It's everything to do with theater, it's all about the fans, it's all about THE SHOW”.

According to Napoleon, what you will see and hear now in the Zappanale #26, is the closest to the magical energy of the 70's Mothers of Invention, with the former line-up: Frank Zappa, George Duke, Ruth Underwood, Chester Thompson, Ralph Humphrey, Tom Fowler, Bruce Fowler, and Napoleon Murphy Brock. THAT'S RIGHT, HE'S BACK!!!


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Zappanale #30

19. - 21.07.2019
The Torture stops in 53 days!
19. - 21. Juli 2019
The Torture stops in 53 days!