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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Frank Zappa, “Improvised Concerto for Two Bicycles, Prerecorded Tape, and Instrumental Ensemble” (1963)


A very young Mr. Zappa, in full-on Edgard Varèse mode, goes on the Steve Allen show to demonstrate the use of the bicycle as a musical instrument. Hilarity follows. What you see below is one of my all-time favorite Frank Zappaclips. Frank the young composer was calm, earnest and mostly serious as he tried (and mostly succeeded) to show how a non-traditional “instrument” might still have musical qualities. Steve Allen, because it was his job, cracked wise even as he was bowing the spokes of an overturned bicycle and blowing into the handlebars of another.
It should be noted though that as the segment ended, Allen did realize that Frank was serious about this stuff — bringing up choreographer Alwin Nikolais, whose unorthodox methods reminded him of Zappa.

Read on...

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