One of the buried treasures in the Frank Zappa vault is a recording of Zappa with Jimi Hendrix. The bad news is no-one knows where it is.
Ahmet Zappa, son of Frank and Gail Zappa and co-trustee of the Zappa estate tells Noise11 that he knows the tapes exist … somewhere. “I can say personally the one we haven’t found yet but I heard my mother and father talk about is Frank and Jimi Hendrix jamming in the Garden. I have always wanted to hear what that sounded like,” Ahmet says.
Zappa recordings with John Lennon were released on Lennon’s ‘Sometime In New York City’ album. One unreleased session is Zappa and Eric Clapton together. “That’s from a night they played at a show,” Ahmet tells Noise11.com. “The Eric Clapton tapes is them hanging out and playing in New York or London. They are having conversations, Frank is playing lead and then Eric is soloing then they flip flop. Those are pretty awesome. We find nuggets here and there. I don’t know if there are more specifically of another collaboration with John or another collaboration with Eric”.
Frank Zappa released 62 albums in his life and over 100 have now been released following his death at age 52 in 1993. “We are probably about this point 35% through the tapes,” Ahmet says. “That should give you a taste of how vast the vault is. We have 100+ releases and on each release there might be a few master tapes we are going through. It is a really vast amount of media that my father did in his lifetime. Its extraordinary. Tens of thousands of tapes”.
“Frank was someone who always had a tape machine going or a video machine going. It is extraordinary that everyone has a video camera with high definition in their pocket now but then you had to pay someone. It was a costly endeavor. He was always documenting. He would curate through the best of them or the odder things, just specific things that inspired him. We discover amazing kick ass audio all the time. Some concerts might have the multitracks on, some might be a board tape or sessions that we didn’t know we had like from the Whitney Studios, something that didn’t go onto ‘Hot Rats’. We find things like that. What we try to do is be completists. It is archeology, he recorded it here, what might this be part of. We try to listen to the fan base and do some pretty special packages and hopefully people will enjoy it”.
Watch the entire Noise11.com interview with Ahmet Zappa.
‘Zappa’ the movie can be seen in cinemas in Australia from 18 February 2021.
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