Whilst Frank Zappa, some 25 years after his death, continues to polarise opinion more than perhaps other other musician, there can be no doubt that his stature as an innovator and musician is as strong as ever. Indeed the nature of Zappa’s work – often constructed with agonising time-signatures; other times with outrageous humour and engaging melodies – mean that it is ripe for reinterpretation and adaptation. Austria-based collective No-Ce, lead by singer Cecile Nordegg are more than wise to this, to the extent that their musical ranks include Zappa Plays Zappa alumni Jamie Kime.
No-Ce’s latest release, sees the second volume of Jazz Proclamation on vinyl, whilst a CD release combines this with volume one. On it is the obligatory Zappa cover – perhaps, rightly or wrongly, his most famous track, Bobby Brown. A gentle breeze of a jazz delivery and an alluring French language translation turn a track which might your grandmother blush into a beautiful smoky barroom lullaby. Elsewhere, there’s a gentler, more early twentieth century/Edith Piaf feel, though there’s always a growling guitar just a heartbeat away. The acoustic frivolity of lead track, Les Maux D’Amour only hints at the eclectic tracks on the album. Fascinating on record, it’s gearing up to be even more fascinating on stage.
See No-Ce & Band at this year’s Edinburgh Festival August 6/7/8 at 08:30pm at AMC @ UCC