Zappa vocal legend and 2008 Grammy Award recipient Napoleon Murphy Brock plans to release a CD of vintage live recordings in December 2009 entitled 'This is What Frank Zappa Heard - Just in Case You Were Wondering - Live at the Red Noodle in Waikiki, Hawaii'.
Fans worldwide have heard Napoleon's extraordinairy vocals, sax and flute on such beloved Zappa albums as 'Roxy & Elsewhere', 'One Size Fits All', 'Bongo Fury' and 'Thing Fish', not to mention his work with keyboardist, and fellow Zappa alumni George Duke, as well as the recent incarnation of the Grande Mothers Re-invented.
On August 8th, 1973, Frank Zappa was alerted by his road manager, Marty Perellis, that an incredible band with an extraordinary lead singer was performing downtown to a standing room only audience and that it might be wise that he come and see this for himself. When Zappa went to the club and watched the show, he saw a young talent sin g, dance, play sax, flute and keyboards, in a manner that clearly made it appear that he was having more fun than even the other patrons in the club. After two hours of observing and listening to this young man and his very disciplined band of musicians, he introduced himself as Frank Zappa, and the young man introduced himself as Napoleon Murphy Brock. The next words out of Zappas mouth were, You are my new lead vocalist."
As I understand it, he had just finished touring Australia, and they were getting ready to go to Europe a week or two after that," recalls Napoleon to Andrew Greenaway. And he was taking a little break. He stopped off in Hawaii for a week or so. And his road manager, Marty Perellis, set Frank up in a hotel and then went out walking around in Hawaii probably to see if he could get lucky or something! If you want a good time, what better place to do it than in Hawaii? Hawaii is literally paradise. And he came to a show of mine outside a nightclub at the Coral Reef hotel and got curious as to why there was a line of people waiting to get into a place on a Wednesday night. He didn't recognize the name of the band, so he thought he'd get in line and come in and see why everybody was queuing up. The reason that people would line up in front of the 'Red Noodle' every night is because the club owners always hired us, and brought us to play and perform for the local people of Hawaii. The locals would get off of work between 10 pm and 11 pm. They had until 12 midnight to get in the club, after which time the tourists would be let in until the club capacity was met. We played 7 nights a week, from 10 pm until 4 am".
The band's name was Communication Plus - music that 'communicates' to the listener and dancer, 'plus' music you can feel," explained Napoleon. Anyway, Marty came into the club and saw us playing didn't recognise us, because no one knew about us except the club owners that hired us and the people who came to see us. He ran back to the hotel, woke Frank up and said, 'Hey, get your clothes on, I just found your new lead vocalist'. Frank got up, came by to the hotel, stood in line like anybody else and once he got in he sat at the back of the room there weren't any seats. We were quite popular there, because we were a band from the mainland. In Hawaii, a band from the mainland if you play halfway decent music you're like a star, you have star status over there. And also the music in Hawaii is like a month behind". Napoleon joined Zappa's group in October 1973 and remained until 1976 recording some of Zappa's most notable albums.
This historic performance was taped on TEAC 4 Track Reel to Reel on August 8th, 1973 and has been digitally enhanced, and the final mix done in stereo surround sound in Hamburg, Germany. It will put you at the next table to where Frank was sitting, and you will experience what Frank Zappa experienced and what later was described as the audition of a lifetime". Some of the songs covered include Nilsson's Coconut", Carol King's So Far Away", James Brown's Make It Funky" and Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage" to name a few. 'This is What Frank Zappa Heard - Just in Case You Were Wondering - Live at the Red Noodle in Waikiki, Hawaii' is currently available for pre-order from Napoleon's official website. He will also autograph copies on request.
In other news, Napoleon will be performing in concert with keyboard legend and fellow Zappa alumni George Duke on October 31, 2009 at the Amsterdam Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. The ensemble will be backed by the Metropole Orchestra. All the music performed at the concert with the Metropole Orch will be original compositions written by George Duke and Napoleon Murphy Brock only. For more information on the concert go to: www.amsterdamjf.nl
This story appears courtesy of Glass Onyon PR - William James.
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