Jon Larsen

Strange News from Mars

BY Eric ThomPublished Jan 21, 2008

Better known for his Django ensemble Hot Club de Norvge, Norwegian guitarist Jon Larsen has lovingly assembled a concept album in tribute to Frank Zappa, notably surrounding the project with musicians from the Mothers-ship, notably Jimmy Carl Black (vocals/spoken word, percussion), Tommy Mars (synth/keyboards), Bruce Fowler (trombone) and Arthur Barrow (bass). Rounding out the rhythm section with Ole Mortenvagan (bass) and Hakon Mjaset Johansen (drums), and Rob Waring (marimba), guitarists Larsen and Knut Reiersrud embark on a 42-minute flight through space on the backs of his own compositions that, based on the sum of the parts, bear an uncanny resemblance to those of his Frankness. The components of some of Zappa’s best years can be heard afresh, with song titles comprised of titles, or derived from lyrics, from Frank’s canon. Climb aboard Larsen’s Big Ears III and savour this blast from the past clearly poised for the future. Head-turners include the delightfully high torque of "Dachs Reduction” and "Music Is The Best,” proving that Frank’s not so far away. This is a lovely jazz-born surprise of special merit for fans requiring a slight de-crusting of zircon from their tweezers.

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