Frank Zappa / Hot Rats

Many Zappa devotees, myself included, cite this slab – which is mostly instrumental save for one vocal track by Captain Beefheart Don Van Vliet - as their favorite from Frank’s iconic canon. Shuggie Otis grooves in-the-pocket and renders gripping passages on the chorus of “Peaches en Regalia” which is among Frank’s most recognizable compositions. Studio giant Max Bennett, on acoustic and electric, brings his formidable jazz pedigree to the remainder of the album, plying melodic extensions that bolster Frank and Jean Luc-Ponty’s improvisations.

To my ears, Hot Rats (1969) serves as a timeless introduction to jazz fusion in the same manner in which Miles brought cool jazz to the masses with Kind of Blue (1959).