Frank Zappa – Tiny Is As Tiny Do (Guitar Master-002/003)

Tiny Is As Tiny Do (Guitar Master-002/003)

Palais Ominisports de Bercy, Paris, France – September 17, 1984

Disc 1:  Zoot Allures, band intro., City Of Tiny Lights, You Are What You Is, Mudd Club, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy, Advance Romance, I’m The Slime, Joe’s Garage (cut), Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?

Disc 2:  In France, More Trouble Every Day, Penguin In Bondage, Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel, Sharleena, Let’s Move To Cleveland, The Closer You Are, No No Cherry, Cosmik Debris, He’s So Gay, Bobby Brown, The Illinois Enema Bandit

Tiny Is As Tiny Do is the second of two releases by the new label Guitar Master.  The tape itself has circulated for quite some time, appearing in many Zappa boot lists.  It’s an excellent sounding audience recording picking up every little detail on stage.  There is a small cut near the beginning of “Joe’s Garage” and a ten second gap in “Let’s Move To Cleveland”.  The second cut is unfortunate since “Cleveland” is the absolute highlight of this set, fifteen minutes of sustained improvisation.

One collector writes:

“‘Cleveland’ proceeds as usual through Zavod’s and Wackerman’s solos, with both efforts somewhat short but entertaining affairs. Nothing special, though. Entering Frank’s domain, things immediately take a turn for the better with the introduction of a four-note arpeggio vamp played on a heavily effected guitar. The result is a spacey, futuristic groove over which Thunes plays a bass solo. After a minute or so of this, Frank introduces a second loop- a more typical machine gun style chord loop- which sets up a nice contrast with the previous loop. Frank begins soloing, riffing off the second loop, while the band continues to ride along with the slower first loop. An interesting effect, but it doesn’t really work UNTIL Wackerman abruptly shifts gears, fires off several volleys of snare, and brings the entire band together surging along with the second loop. At this point, the groove simply takes off, and Frank sounds more confident than he has all night. Just when it seems as if things may settle down and turn predictable, Thunes steps forward and completely changes the harmonic ‘complexion’ of the solo, heightening the emotional intensity of Frank’s playing with some of the most perfectly played bass notes I have heard. This goes on for roughly half a minute before Thunes resolves the tension, but by this time Frank is flying, and the song rides an emotional wave into the shore. Memories of ‘King Kong’ 3/26/79 and ‘Yo Mama’ 10/29/78 come to mind. Powerful stuff.

The rest of the show is good, but seriously undermined by the brevity of all of Frank’s solos. ‘City of Tiny Lites’ and ‘Hot Plate Heaven’ are particularly aggressive and nasty, but Frank calls it quits so soon in each that satisfaction isn’t achieved. It’s like good sex without the orgasm- enjoyable, but still. ‘Carolina’ is tasty but short, ‘Advance’ gets points for being noisy (and that’s about it), ‘Slime’ contains some nice rhythmic twists and turns, and ‘More Trouble’ finds Zavod contributing some nice support. All the solos have something in their favor, undermined by the fact that they are all just too damn short!”  This is a nice set hampered by the aforementioned cut in “Cleveland”.  The packaging is okay but the inserts are printed on only one side.  But this is an interesting set from Zappa and is recommended.  (GS)

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