ed palermo

Ed Palermo's big band performed Frank Zappa's music on a regular basis at 'The Bottom Line' in New York City, usa.
On occasion, he also included Van Vliet's 'Veteran's Day Poppy'.

The Ed Palermo Big Band has released various albums, two of which are all Zappa albums.

July 2002, the Ed Palermo band played at the Zappanale festival in Bad Doberan, Germany.

June 2003, a swedish version of the Ed Palermo Big Band performed at The Umeå Internationella Kammarmusik Festival. This version of his Big Band also included Mats Öberg, Morgan Ågren, Mike Keneally and Napoleon M. Brock.
Ed also played Frank Zappa compositions with Denny Walley's Zappa Corner Band.

In 2004, the Ed Palermo Big Band, featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock performed at the "Biennale" in Bonn, Germany.


Early 2006, Candy Zappa, joined forces with Ed Palermo, Nigey Lennon, and John Tabacco to present ZAPPA SINGS ZAPPA, a two-hour show featuring Candy's vocal renditions of her brother's songs, along with original compositions in the Zappa spirit, composed by Nigey Lennon and John Tabacco.

April 2009, the Ed Palermo Big Band released its third album that included Zappa tunes.
Thursday, April 16th, 2009, the U.S. Army Blues Band with special guest conductor Ed Palermo performed the music of Frank Zappa!

2012 saw Ed Palermo performing the music of Frank Zappa with his Eddy's Chemistry Set, a smaller version of his big band, featuring Katie Jacoby on electric violin.



1 ed palermo: ed palermo
    (1982, lp, uk, vile heifer records vhf001) - randy brecker
2 the ed palermo big band: ping pong
    (1987, cd, usa, projazz 650) - feat. tom malone
  the ed palermo big band: the ed palermo big band plays the music of frank zappa
    (1997, cdr-promo, usa, astor place recordings tcd 4005-adv) - all zappa compositions - different from the final edition.
3 the ed palermo big band: the ed palermo big band plays the music of frank zappa
    (1997, cd, usa, astor place recordings tcd 4005) -  - all zappa compositions
  the ed palermo big band: big band zappa
    (2001, cdr, usa, private release) -  all zappa compositions, = "the original masters"

  various artists: zappanale 13
    (2003, 3cd, ger, arf society) – incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  various artists: zappanale 13 - retrospective
    (2003, dvd, ger, the arf society) - feat. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

4 the ed palermo big band: take your clothes off when you dance
    (2006, cd, usa, cuneiform records) - all compositions by frank zappa

5 the ed palermo big band: eddy loves frank
    (2009, cd, usa, cuneiform records) - all compositions by frank zappa

edpalermo_rune285.jpg (28841 bytes)

  various artists: wayside sampler 6
    (2009, cd, usa, wayside music) - incl. ed palermo big band: 'echidna's arf (of you)' (frank zappa), fast 'n' bulbous: 'smithsonian institute blues' (don van vliet)
  candy zappa: ...to be perfectly frank...
    (2011, cd, usa, porterville records / crossfire publications) - incl. various frank zappa compositions  //  feat. frank zappa, ike willis, don preston

candyzappa_tobeperfectlyfrank.jpg (24641 bytes)

  john tabacco & nigey lennon: the miseducation of willie the hill
    (2014, download, --, bandcamp) - incl. various frank zappa compositions / feat. candy zappa, ed palermo, ike willis
6 ed palermo big band: oh no! not jazz!
    (2014, 2cd, usa, cuneiform records) - incl. various frank zappa compositions  //  feat. napoleon murphy brock

palermo_ohnonotjazz.jpg (42104 bytes)

7 the ed palermo big band & rob paparozzi: electric butter
    (2014, cd, usa, private release)

edpalermo_electricbutter.jpg (41176 bytes)

8 ed palermo: it's an ed palermo christmas! god bless us, everyone!
    (2015, cd, usa, private release) - incl. 'my favorite things / toads of the short forest' (hammerstein, rodger, zappa)

edpalermo_2015christmas.jpg (43517 bytes)

9 the ed palermo big band: one child left behind
    (2016, cd, usa, cuneiform records) - incl. various frank zappa compositions  //  feat. napoleon murphy brock, candy zappa

palermo_onechildleftbehind.jpg (26986 bytes)

10 the ed palermo big band: the great un-american songbook - volumes I & II
    (2017, cd, usa, cuneiform records) - incl. various frank zappa teases // feat. napoleon murphy brock

edpalermo_unamericansongbookvol1_2.jpg (31878 bytes)

11 the ed palermo big band: the adventures of zodd zundgren
    (2017, cd, usa, cuneiform records) - incl. various frank zappa compositions // feat. napoleon murphy brock

edpalermo_zoddzundgren.jpg (36228 bytes)

12 the ed palermo big band: a lousy day in harlem
    (2019, cd, usa, sky cat records) -  incl. zappa tease: the track 'giant steps' ends with frank zappa's 'idiot bastard son'
13 the ed palermo big band: the great un-american songbook - vol. III
    (2020, cd, usa, sky cat records) - incl. various frank zappa compositions



* * * the ed palermo big band plays zappa* * *



* * * umo plays zappa, conducted by ed palermo
umo is a finnish big band. ed palermo guests on this fz tribute show. umo plays palermo's arrangements.

* * * the ed palermo big band plays zappa* * *

The Ed Palermo Band

The Ed Palermo Big Band

The Umeå Internationella Kammarmusik Festival:

The Ed Palermo Big Band, featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock - live at the "Biennale" in Bonn, Germany




  • 2010/06/23-Early Show-  The Ed Palermo Big Band - concert 'Iridium', New York City, NY, usa
    • line-up
      • Ed Palermo: alto saxophone * Cliff Lyons: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet * Ben Kono: tenor saxophone, flute * Bill Straub: tenor saxophone, flute * Barbara Cifelli: baritone saxophone, Eb clarinet * Phil Chester: piccolo, flute, soprano & alto saxophones * Ronnie Buttacavoli & John Hines: trumpet * Charlie Gordon, Joe Fiedler: trombone * Matt Ingman: bass trombone * Bob Quaranta: piano * Ted Kooshian: synthesizer * Paul Adamy: electric bass * Ray Marchica: drums * Bruce McDaniel: guitar, vocals * Katie Jacoby: electric violin
    • setlist
      • Intro, Uncle Meat Variations, Regyptian Strut, Brahms Brown Shoes/Black Page > King Kong/21st Century Schizoid Man (Zappa/King Crimson), Florentine Pogen, Jingo/G-Spot Tornado/Caravan (Santana/Zappa/Ellingtom), Sofa > Directly From My Heart to You, Magic Fingers, Echidna's Arf > A Day In The Life > (Beatles), Orange County Lumber Truck > Don't You Ever Wash That Thing, 200 Motels Finale, Inca Roads Outro
    • a 78-minute audience recording got seeded at the Zappateers site


picture by urich 21
  • 2010/06/23-Late Show-  The Ed Palermo Big Band - concert 'Iridium', New York City, NY, usa
    • line-up
      • Ed Palermo: alto saxophone * Cliff Lyons: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet * Ben Kono: tenor saxophone, flute * Bill Straub: tenor saxophone, flute * Barbara Cifelli: baritone saxophone, Eb clarinet * Phil Chester: piccolo, flute, soprano & alto saxophones * Ronnie Buttacavoli & John Hines: trumpet * Charlie Gordon, Joe Fiedler: trombone * Matt Ingman: bass trombone * Bob Quaranta: piano * Ted Kooshian: synthesizer * Paul Adamy: electric bass * Ray Marchica: drums * Bruce McDaniel: guitar, vocals * Katie Jacoby: electric violin
    • setlist
      • Intro, Uncle Meat Variations, Peaches En Regalia, Zoot Allures, Waka/Jawaka, Sy Borg/Band Intros, Fifty-Fifty/Janet's Big Dance Number, The Grand Wazoo, Sleep Dirt, Whipping Post, San Berdino, Grand Finale (Procol Harum from In Held Twas In I), Waka/Jawaka, Waka/Jawaka Encore
    • a 72-minute audience recording got seeded at the Zappateers site


  • 2010/08/24 concert 'City Winery', NYC, NY, usa
  • 2010/10/13 concert 'Iridium Night Club', Manhattan, NYC, NY, usa
  • 2010/12/08 concert 'Iridium Night Club', Manhattan, NYC, NY, usa

The Ed Palermo Big Band

Ed Palermo - Conducter, Arranger, Sax 

  • Saxaphone Section

    • Barbara Cifelli

    • Dave Rickenberg

    • Aaron Hyke

    • Phil Chester

    • Bill Straub

  • Trombone Section

    • Tim Sessions

    • Charlie Gordon

    • Matt Ingram

  • Trumpet Section

    • Ronnie Buttacavoli

    • John Hines

  • Keyboard Section

    • Bob Quaranta

    • Ted Kooshian

  • String Section

    • Paul Adamy

    • Bruce McDaniels

    • Katie Jacoby

  • Drums

    • Ray Marchica 


  • 2011/04/11 - Early - concert 'Iridium Night Club', Manhattan, NYC, NY, usa
  • 2011/04/11 - Late - concert 'Iridium Night Club', Manhattan, NYC, NY, usa
    • setlist

      • Run Home, Slow: Main Title Theme

      • Breathless (Part One)

      • Uncle Meat: Main Title Theme

      • The Uncle Meat Variations

      • The Black Page #2

      • Chunga's Revenge

      • band introductions

      • Little Umbrellas

      • Intro To Sofa #2 (Katie Jacoby, Bruce McDaniels)

      • Sofa #2

      • King Kong

      • 21st Century Schizoid Man

      • Breathless (Part Two)

      • Ed's Mash-Up (Caravan, Jingo, & G-Spot)

      • Father O'Blivion (arranged by Bruce McDaniels)

      • City of Tiny Lights (arranged by Bruce McDaniels)

      • Waka/Jawaka

      • Enchidna's Arf (outro - Of You)
    • an audience video recording of this concert got seeded at Zappateers
    • http://www.zappateers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=21887

Bruce, Katie and Ed - video still by Hughgotit76

'good night folks' - video still by Hughgotit76



  • 2013/12/21 concert 'The Falcon', Marlboro, NY, usa / featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock



random notes

There is now an official Ed Palermo Big Band site:
Also check out Keneally's Comments on his involvement with this project.

    From: Patrick Neve (splat@darkwing.uoreogn.edu)
    Subject: Re: Palermo question for Keneally

Hey Mike, now that you're back from tour, maybe you can add light to the Palermo project.  Right in the middle of Aybe Sea, you're doing this kickin' solo and it rudely fades out, just to come back to the head and finale of the song.  What happened there?  Some folks on the group got a hold of a promo of the disc which had extra music.  What's the deal?
p.s. the album kicks ass.

    From: Boil That (boilthat@aol.com)
I have yet to hear the officially released version of the CD, but I'm sure the bit which was faded away is the melody from the end of the "Inca Roads" solo segued into a little quote from the end of the "Yo Mama" solo.
More quotes than the record company was prepared to pay for apparently.

* * * *
From: Steve Cobham (steve@XSPAMguitarsMAPSX.powernet.co.uk)
Any new EP on the horizon and are there any more EP Zappa covers coming?

     From: Jon Naurin (naurin@mbox300.swopnet.se)
Not that I've heard. In the meantime, I recommend people to seek out tapes of the EPBB's Bottom Line concerts. Ed has done so many amazing arrangements, only a few of which ended up on the CD. For example: Absolutely Free, Fifty-Fifty, Dog Breath Variations, G-Spot Tornado, Moggio, Spider of Destiny, Pound for a Brown, Sleep Dirt, Let's move to Cleveland, Idiot Bastard Son, Yo Cats, Black Napkins, Zoot Allures, Jam, Oh No, Trouble Every Day, Orange County Lumber Truck, Hot Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel, Pound for a Brown, Echidna's Arf, Aybe Sea, Dwarf Nebula, Uncle Remus, Directly from my heart to you, Cruisin' for Burgers, My Guitar wants to kill your mama, Mom & Dad, Dupree's Paradise, Black Page, Heavy Duty Judy, Grand Wazoo, BeBop Tango, Chunga's Revenge, What^s new in Baltimore?, Rollo, Blessed Relief and Dog/Meat.

 * * * *
Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa - AMG EXPERT REVIEW: Rocker Frank Zappa briefly experimented with big bands in the early 1970s and again during his last tour in 1988; this big band tribute by saxophonist Ed Palermo concentrates primarily on pieces recorded for Zappa's early Mothers of Invention records. So many rock and modern pop tunes don't translate into jazz very well.
Zappa's enthusiasm for unusual time signatures and wild chord progressions are relatively new ground for jazz musicians; Palermo dreamed for years of "fleshing out" Zappa's music for big band. The snappy "Peaches En Regalia," features ex-Zappa sideman Mike Keneally capturing the spirit of his late boss' guitar solos, as he also does with his blazing attack on "Aybe Sea." Palermo successfully extends Zappa miniatures like the upbeat "Toads of the Short Forest" and cocktail lounge parody "Twenty Small Guitars." Perhaps his most intriguing arrangement is the imaginative combining of "Who Are the Brain Police?" with "Holiday In Berlin" in a medley showcasing guitarist Mike Stern.
Palermo's horn charts flesh out "Waka Jawaka" (originally recorded by Zappa with Sal Marquez overdubbing several trumpets); tenor saxophonist Chris Potter's solo is outstanding, but drummer Ray Marchita's drums are a bit too prominent in the mix. Jam session favorite "King Kong" has always inspired lively solos and tenor saxman Bob Mintzer keeps the tradition alive. This CD should have high appeal to jazz fans familiar with Frank Zappa's recordings, but others should also give it a hearing with open ears. - Ken Dryden

* * * * *
The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa
reviewed at great length by Ron Spiegelhalter (ron2112@xtdl.com)

I am really enjoying this album a lot.  The sound is fantastic.  The arrangements, where they vary greatly from Frank's, give the pieces an exciting newness, and although the changes are not *all* entirely wonderful, it would be boring to hear a whole album of note-by-note reproductions of FZ recordings.  And this album is anything but boring.
The playing is real tight, but not stiff (track one excepted, perhaps).
The packaging is perfect: just enough liner notes, just enough photos, a few fun quotes, and multiple gatefolds.  (Do the horizontal line patterns in the liner art remind anyone of what you see in some MIDI composition software?)  I'm tempted to compare this disc more to Ponty's _King Kong_ than any FZ recordings, and Palermo's effort faces that comparison bravely. A big band can't always be as wild as a smaller ensemble (like on _King Kong_) but what it loses in spontaneity it more than makes up for in tonal richness.  A great album; I highly recommend it.

Peaches En Regalia

This stands out for me as the low point of the disc, unfortunately.  I've always preferred the tempo a bit quicker on this tune (I was introduced to the piece via Peaches III, so that figures), although this seems to be about the same tempo as the _Hot Rats_ version.  This rendition seems kinda lifeless to me.  I'm not real crazy about some of the arrangement choices, either.  The opening drum thing threw me off right away, but little differences are often what makes a cover worth hearing, so I ignored it.  But the RUM-dee-DUM-dee-DUM right before the guitar comes in turned me off too; it sounds so wooden to me.  [Get used to my "dah-dee-dum" method of musical description, btw; there's more to come.] Keneally has said his solo here is not real spectacular, and I agree. None too inspired, but there were time constraints in the studio so I can't say too much about that.  The arrangement of the grouped-16th-note exchanges near the end sounds forced to me, but it's a minor nit.
Throughout the track, the playing seems kinda "squareish" and stiff.  All very clean and accurate, but not much in the way of inflection.  Not a great start, but things get much much better...

Toads of the Short Forest

Yes, yes, yes!!!  One of my very favorite FZ melodies, and I don't have to wince in agony as it goes into that chunka-chunka-chunkidda thing.  Bless you, Ed Palermo!  The band really makes this melody swing with the kind of energy they could've used more of on the first track.  The chord progression proves to be fertile soloing ground indeed, and some of the best soloing on the disc is done right here.  Not wailing-a-mile-a-minute soloing, mind you, but thoughtful, articulate and heartfelt soloing that makes great use of the underlying chords.  Forget "Peaches", start the disc here and weep at the splendor.  The organ solo gives me huge chills, especially as it crescendos into the sax solo.  The track fades in the midst of this solo, which is a bummer, but it^s an outstanding track nonetheless.

Who Are the Brain Police/Holiday in Berlin (excerpt)

This is quite well done.  An intriguing exploration of the two pieces, featuring a very nice Mike Stern guitar solo.  Do I hear a little "Uncle Meat" thrown in for good measure?

Twenty Small Cigars

A bit fast, methinks.  I love this piece in it's original form, even more so on _King Kong_; the somber tone of that recording allows for deeper absorption of the exquisite harmonies in the melody.  I think this version is trying to pep it up a bit, but the melody ends up sounding rather rushed to my ears.  Ultimately, this faster tempo serves the solo section well, as I'm not sure Dave Samuels' great vibes would have been as appropriate to the more "down" arrangement.  Overall, it sounds very good.

King Kong

Is it possible to fuck this piece up?  (Actually, I thought the reggae version came close, but to each his or her own).  Any band that can't kick ass on this tune shouldn't be playing Zappa at all; the Palermo band does a very nice job of nailing this little bastard to the wall.  I'm not crazy about some of the arrangement choices, but again, vive le difference.  The track as a whole is really good and lively, if a bit short; I could have used a few more solos (bitch bitch bitch).

Aybe Sea

This starts off pretty straightforward, arrangement-wise, which is a good thing.  Not everything needs to be tinkered with.  But then comes Keneally's solo, which is much less straightforward, at least to my ears.
Super-fine, Mikey!  Do my ears deceive, or does this solo section (MK's playing excluded) turn into the Sharleena solo section, like when Dweezil plays it on _YCDTOSAv3_?  The solo section ends in a WICKED abrupt fade into the piano restating the theme; could we not have worked out some sort of segue here? Still, I like this a lot.


Wow: Caffeine, anybody?  Palermo steps up the tempo a notch on this piece and the band makes it work quite nicely.  I wouldn't have thought the staccato bursts would be played so cleanly at this tempo.  I particularly dig the sax solo.  As it was approaching, I sort of expected the guy to rise to the tempo challenge with some balls-to-the-wall 16th-note scale madness flying all over the place.  When it comes, however, Chris Potter says "fuck the challenge, I'm playing a solo here" and lays back into the groove beautifully, not even starting right away, building it up only as he sees fit, and only when he's damn good and ready.  Very well done, probably my favorite solo on the album.  Nice "Idiot Bastard Son" snippet at the end of the track.

Sofa #1

The band wrings plenty of emotion out of this one, a piece that (it seems to me) would be easy to play dull-ly.  My poor grammar notwithstanding, the most surprising thing to me is the change into a steady four for the middle section.  The transition into it is quite pleasing, and the transition out is barely noticeable.  Very nice sax work by Palermo, and vibes by Samuels.

The Little House I Used to Live In

A nice lively arrangement on this one.  The playing is hot; lots of  drive and conviction.  A very strong opening.  I adore the tone on Mike Stern's beautiful solo.  It's funny, the title of this piece never had much of a connection to the music in my mind, but I'll be damned if Stern's solo doesn't make me think of a little house I used to live in.  How wonderfully unexpected!

We Are Not Alone

Where's that dwoinky little guitar thing, goddammit!?!?!  You know what I mean, at the very end of the main theme, that DIDdleDIDdledee DIDdleDIDdledee DWOINK dee-DWOINK dee-DWOINK dee-DWOINK.  It was my favorite part of the track and it's gone!  I mean hell, Keneally stuck it in at those Bottom Line shows two Aprils ago, why isn't it here?  That aside, however, the track is really hot.  The middle section features traded guitar licks from Palermo, Stern and Keneally.  MK wrote in his discography who's playing when, but I say fuck it, it all sounds great! Nice overall; the ending is a bit abrupt.

wai,fn? (written by Palermo)

I'm guessing this stands for "what am i, fucking nuts?"  Sounds good to me. As does this track, although it starts as abruptly as the previous one ended (I could see that being done intentionally, I guess).  The opening sax jam is very "Grand Wazoo".  It goes into a really nifty piano-harpsichord thing, then the band comes back and polishes the whole thing off in grand fashion. A fun and fitting tribute to end a...well, a fun and fitting tribute.  A quick track which beats the hell out of "How Would You Like To Have A Head Like That" as far as I'm concerned.  If you're going to put an original track on a tribute album, this is how it should be: short and sweet.  Kudos!

In summary, I'm very impressed with this disc.  I find it to be an excellent companion piece to _King Kong_, as though they represent FZ as filtered through either hemisphere of the brain.  I don't know if Palermo will ever record a follow-up Zappa disc, but if he does I will buy it without hesitation.  Pick this one up right away!

-- Ron

* * * *
Jaaz Track Editorial Spin: Ed Palermo's Big Band Zappa Still Freaking Out The Bottom Line

12/14/98, by Drew Wheeler

"LET'S HEAR IT FOR another great Italian . . ." was how Frank Zappa sometimes introduced such band members as Vinnie Colaiuta or Warren Cucurillo. These days, the "another great Italian" revered by Zappa fanatics is Ed Palermo, whose 18-piece Big Band has been playing Palermo's brilliant interpretations of Zappa's music for over four years at New York's Bottom Line. Palermo's Bottom Line Zappafests have become an every-couple-of months-or-so tradition, Ed Palermodocumented in small part by his outstanding 1997 Astor Place album The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa, that featured guest stars Mike Stern, Dave Samuels, Bob Mintzer, Chris Potter and ex-Zappa frontman Mike Keneally.
"I'm not a famous guy," Palermo told me when I asked for his professional history. He graduated college and moved to New York with hopes of making his way in jazz as a tenor saxophonist, but soon became more interested in writing and arranging. While playing tenor for Tito Puente, Palermo put together a nine-piece band, which was expanded into the Ed Palermo Big Band. In the early 1980s, the group was in Monday night residency at the Brecker Bros.-owned club Seventh Avenue South. Palermo's first album, Ed Palermo, featured Randy Brecker, Dave Sanborn--"This is when Sanborn was still affordable" said Palermo--and Edgar Winter.  The album was released on a label called-with shades of Zappalogical nomenclature--Vile Heifer Records. His second album, Ping-Pong, was released by Pro Jazz Records. In 1991, the lifelong Zappaphile in Palermo asserted itself and he began to transcribe Zappa's music and arrange it for a big band, starting with such early-days classics as "King Kong" and "Toads Of The Short Forest." Before the first EP-plays-FZ show at New York's Bitter End, Palermo posted a notice for the show on an Internet Zappa bulletin board. "Up until then, my own shows at the Bitter End were drawing next to nobody," said Palermo. "For some reason, the word got out about the Zappa show and the place was swamped. And it was incredibly exciting--people there were Zappa fanatics.
A couple people drove down from Montreal, a couple people from Boston. And I thought, 'Man, this is something special here.' " As much fun as the Bitter End show had been, Palermo saw it strictly as a one-off event, until he was contacted by Alan Pepper of the Bottom Line, where the series has remained ever since. Although Palermo has made repeated attempts to contact Zappa's widow Gail Zappa about the ongoing project, he has never heard back from her. "I'm not doing this to capitalize on Frank's death," said Palermo, "It's just that there are some people out there who love the music so much that they're willing to spend a significant amount of their time arranging and performing it." As to notions that Palermo is "making a living" off Zappa's music, he replied: "You can't make a living playing in a tribute band, let alone a Frank Zappa tribute band where you've got 18 members of the band. Financially, everyone loses on this thing."
Ironically, the Palermo Big Band Zappa shows are wildly creative, technically dazzling and sometimes zany affairs--proving themselves utterly faithful to the spirit of Frank Zappa. "I used to worry about saying something that would offend the Zappas," Palermo concluded, "but I realized a long time ago that there's nothing that I'll ever be able to do to get them to appreciate what I'm doing."
Performances by the Ed Palermo Big Band hew closely to Zappa's seamless execution, with the Ed Palermoband playing for at least a half hour before the first break between songs. They opened with "Theme From 'Run Home Slow'," from the early '60s soundtrack Zappa wrote for the movie of that name. That segues into vocal number "Son Of Orange County," then without pause into the bittersweet chiming of the solo piano intro to "Absolutely Free." On "Zoot Allures," Zappa's sustained, whang-barred chords are transformed into a thick carpet of woodwinds. Palermo's powerful big band blasts give gospeloid tune "Uncle Remus" the kind of depth of soul typical of Muscle Shoals, while the chorus of "Cruising For Burgers" embraces a reedily lovely Renaissance/madrigal style. Palermo builds the bluesy wah-wahed guitar line from "Get A Little" into a big band chart and on 1966 tune "Status Back Baby"--which originally featured quotations from Stravinsky's "Petrouchka"--Palermo artfully folds two snippets of the famed ballet over on itself. The final tune of the evening is "Eddie Are You Kidding?," which was an FZ throwaway, but its revival affords Palermo an irresistible cue to insist that no, indeed he is not kidding, the show is coming to a close. Palermo clearly loves Zappa's music as much as he loves putting witty new spins on it.
"What I do is my interpretation of it," he said. "As long as I get the melodies right and the harmonies right--rhythmically, I mess around with rhythms more than the other stuff--but as long as I get the melodies and harmonies right and don't fluff over them, then I've done my job. From that point on, it's just my interpretation and my personality doing this music." And also in keeping with the Zappa approach, Palermo sprinkles cover tunes throughout the set--some that were in Zappa's repertoire, some not. Palermo plays Little Richard's "Directly From My Heart To You" as Zappa did, but with wonderfully rolling saxophone accompaniment. They also covered the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus," which was actually in the FZ setlist on his final tour. The evening's other covers were Edgar Winter's "Jimmy's Gospel" (from his 1970 Entrance album, which Palermo plans to arrange stem-to-stern for some future performance) and the ludicrously giddy rev-up of a melody from "The Nutcracker Suite" called "The Nut Rocker." It had been also covered by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but was originally a 1962 top 40 hit by some LA session players who called themselves B. Bumble & The Stingers. Their other notable covers not in the evening's program are Todd Rundgren instrumental "Breathless," Jimi Hendrix' "Rainy Day," Los Lobos' "Kiko And The Lavender Moon" and Tony Williams' "Snake Oil." The also play delightful work-ups of Beach Boys tunes "Sail On Sailor" and "Disney Girls." (Of the latter song, Palermo noted: "We would never play that at the Bottom Line, because it's such a beautiful corny little tune--it's so corny that the Zappa audience might throw things at me.") Other nuggets they've played include Jeff Beck tunes "Definitely Maybe," "Rice Pudding" and "Diamond Dust"; the Beatles' "Good Morning" and "Good Night"; ELP's "Bitches Crystal"; and Jaco Pastorius' "Three Views Of A Secret."
Keneally is the one ex-Zappa musician who's appeared with Palermo's group the most, although former FZ lead singer Ike Willis has done a couple guest appearances as well--although he failed to show up as promised at a Bottom Line show last summer. "It didn't matter," said Palermo. "The night he didn't show up, the band sounded so good I didn't care to be perfectly honest. I mean, I cared, because it's always fun playing with him, but the fact of the matter is the band is the focal point for me."
Indeed, Palermo has a strong, at times seemingly telepathic, connection to the band that crowds the small Bottom Line stage. His loose style of conducting belies an ability to shift the band's gears at a moment's notice--or to give another chorus to a soloist who's really on a roll. Palermo, who sometimes plays alto sax or guitar as well, leads Cliff Lyons (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone); Chuck Fisher, (flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Jeff Lederer (flute, tenor saxophone); Al Hunt (piccolo, flute, oboe, soprano & baritone saxophones, bass clarinet); Phil Chester (piccolo, flute, soprano & alto saxophones); Liesl Whitaker, Jami Dauber, Ronnie Buttacavoli and Elaine Burt (trumpet); Dan Levine and Dale Kirkland (trombone); Jack Schatz (bass trombone); Bob Quaranta (piano); Ted Kooshian (harpsichord, organ, synthesizer); Paul Adamy (electric bass); Ray Marchica (drums); and Carl Restivo (vocals). The Ed Palermo Big Band also has its own site.
Many of Palermo's crew earn their livings from Broadway orchestras or session work. "I try to tell the guys, it this is your main source of income, don't have any kids," he explained. Palermo himself will take gigs at weddings to make ends meet, but he's never sought a non-musical means of getting by. "I'm proud to say that I haven't got a straight gig," he said. "All I do is music. I also do a lot of a lot of arranging for those society bands, the type of bands that do corporate gigs." Palermo is a composer, and while his band often rehearses his pieces, they remain mostly unheard. What about an evening entitled "Ed Palermo Plays The Music Of Ed Palermo?" "The guys in the band keep saying that. I'd love to. In fact, down the line, I'll have a night somewhere. Do my own music and no one will show up," he concluded with a laugh.
Although Palermo's next record won't be for Astor Place, he has ventured back into New York's Power Station recording studio, where he's recorded versions of Zappa tunes "Regyptian Strut" and "Cy Borg," as well as Rundgren's "Breathless." Still, Palermo wonders if all the tracks he's recorded are complimentary, as Zappa's eccentric melodies would sit beside his big band chart for Neil Young's folky "Harvest Moon." "It's like Nelson Riddle meets Neil Young" enthused Palermo. It's a juxtaposition that surely would've made Frank Zappa smile.

* * * * *

He's Not In It For The Money:
Frank Zappa's Big Band Brother Ed Palermo

by Jordan Hoffman
Reprinted with permission from http://www.LeisureSuit.net/

Soon after  Frank Zappa's  death late  in 1993  I heard about a tour by the so-called "Band From Utopia", a collection of Zappa alum playing  (quite well,  to be  sure) Zappa  tunes. I almost went, but,  since I'd  never had  the pleasure  of seeing Zappa live  (I was  still rockin'  out  to Guns  N' Roses  during the notorious 1988  tour, Zappa's  last) the  whole endeavor seemed hollow to me. Why see a Zappa  band sans Zappa? I felt this way until I finally checked out an ongoing series happening down at the Bottom Line in Manhattan. Dig this: an 18 piece big band as tight as Buddy Rich's was rearranging Zappa's material into its own unique sound. It seemed simpatico with Zappa's own frequent re-conceptualizing  (how  many  totally  different  versions of "Trouble  Every  Day"?) and  the  only posthumous  Zappa ticket worth buying.

The  man behind  this  project is  Ed  Palermo. Indeed,  he has released  an album  called The  Ed Palermo  Big Band  Plays The Music of Frank  Zappa. His show at  the Bottom Line still packs 'em  in (next  gig is  Friday,  March 19th!!),  often featuring surprise guests. I was lucky to  chat with him recently and ask a few questions.

Jordan Hoffman: I think your album can appeal even to listeners who don't know or like  Frank Zappa. How would you characterize your interpretation of Zappa?

Ed  Palermo:  I think  my  interpretations are  inspired  by my absolute  love  for FZ's  melodies  and chord  changes,  and my desire to  put them  in a  framework that  best showcases those elements. It was  Frank's personality to arrange  in a way that almost obscured  the beauty of  his melodies.  That's what made Frank such an original. He never sentimentalized his work. When I  was a  kid, I  also loved  the music  of Todd  Rundgren, who always sentimentalized his  work. So, I think  what I do is try to bring out  the pathos in  Frank's music the  way Todd did in his.

JH: What did  you learn new about  Zappa's music when you began arranging it for big band that  you did not know as a listener?

EP: I  realized he  was more  brilliant than  I thought! That's kind of a complicated question because almost every tune of his that I've arranged  has had me scratching  my head saying, "How did he come up with that?"

JH: You list everyone under the  sun as an influence, from Todd Rundgren  to Sergei  Prokofiev. How  did appreciation  of other composers, as  well as your  work with a  more traditional jazz outfit, affect your interpretation of Zappa?

EP: I guess you could say  that any influence in your life will affect  your art.  If it doesn't,  then  you're not  much of an artist. As to how it affects my interpretation of FZ's music, I don't have a clue. That's one of those questions that I'll have an   answer  for  immediately  after  you  run  this interview.

JH:  Your album  and live  set,  the two  times I've  seen you, avoided  Zappa's work  from the  80s  (with the  exception of a mindfucker version of "G Spot  Tornado"!) Do you plan to expand into   this,  or  are  you  keeping  away  from  it  purposely?

EP:  I guess  it's  obvious that  I  prefer the  older Mothers' material. Actually, we  do quite a bit  of the 80's stuff (keep in mind I've arranged over 80 FZ tunes thus far), but there are shows where we hardly do any. To be totally honest, there was a period in  the late  70's and early  80's where  Zappa lost me. Zappa fans, forgive  me, but I couldn't  stand Baby Snakes (the movie). I didn't  like most of the  tunes and thought the movie was   interminable.  And  except  for  a  couple  classics like "Watermelon in Easter  Hay" and "Sy  Borg", Joe's Garage didn't thrill me either. To me,  the music just lacked Zappa's melodic and harmonic  genius. And  since no one  is paying  me for this project, I can only do the  material that I truly love, and I'm afraid   "Dinah-Moe-Hum"  doesn't  enter  into  that  category.

JH:  There's something  of a  gender gap  with Frank  Zappa (at least in my house.) Can you  account for that? Do you find this in your work with the Big Band, too?

EP: I think the reason for the  gender gap is what I touched on before:  Zappa obscured  a lot  of  his gorgeous  melodies with weird sound effects that sound  like belches and flatulence. He loved the fact that one had to see beyond the "ugliness" to get to  the beauty.  Add  to that  the  scatological nature  of his lyrics, and I  think you've turned  off a lot  of listeners. I, personally, love this  about Zappa, but  some people don't want to take the time to delve. At the risk of sounding sexist (like Zappa would give  a shit if  he sounded "sexist")  I think most women fall into that category. Most of my audience at the Zappa tributes  are  male,  and I'm  constantly  approached  by their girlfriends  with, "I  always hated  Zappa  until I  heard your band. I never knew the melodies were so beautiful!" I know this sounds self-serving, but it's true.

JH: Tell  us a little  bit about  the amount of  work that goes into one of your Bottom Line shows?

EP: Well, it's quite  a lot of work, but  it's a total labor of love. First, we usually set the  date of the next show within a week of the  one we just  played. I usually  have about 6 weeks between  shows.  Even though  I  already have  a  zillion EP-FZ arrangements to  pick from,  I always get  to work  on some new ones. That way, each show  is a totally different experience to the  ones  prior.  I really  want  the  audience  to experience something special.
Anyway, once the  arrangements are done, I  bring them into our every  Friday  rehearsal. Some  of  the tunes  play themselves; they're not insanely demanding. Others, like my new arrangement of "Inca  Roads", must be  rehearsed slowly  and then gradually increased in tempo  till we hit the  proper speed. My musicians are all incredible  virtuosos, but even  they have trouble with something like "Inca". Keep in  mind, Zappa rehearsed his bands 6 days a week,  8 hours a day. We  rehearse once a week for two hours, so I'm really proud of my band.

JH: Will you ever take this show on the road?

EP: We've  played several out  of town gigs  (DC, South Jersey) but each time  I've lost more  money than I  can really afford. So,  I'm afraid  the answer is  probably  no. I  would love to, though. The DC gig was a blast!

JH: Did you ever meet Frank Zappa?

EP: No.  It's one of  my deepest  regrets. I wish  I could have told him how much  his music shaped my  life and how much total joy it gave me.  Oh, well. I imagine he  heard it enough in his lifetime.

JH: In the  notes to your  album, you mention  that if you ever get a chance to meet Gail &  the kids, you promise to chip in a little  for  dinner.  This  begs to  be  asked  about.  Can you elaborate on this?  Did you not have  a good experience working with the Zappa Family Trust?

EP: Actually,  that little  joke meant  nothing. It  was just a lame little joke, which  is a drag because  I think the rest of the  liner notes  are funny  as hell,  if I  do say  so myself.
As  to my  experience with the  Zappas,  it goes  a little like this:  Frank Zappa  had been  ripped off  his entire  career by bootleggers and record companies. Add  to that the close family bond that the Zappas have, it was inevitable that they would be suspicious of people  once again ripping  them off. It's really very sweet how  loyal they are. Unfortunately,  they seem to be suspicious of  everybody they  don't know  and to  some they do know.  They've never  met  me, so  the  only way  they  have of knowing how sincere I am with  this project are with the 4 or 5 letters I  wrote to  Gail Zappa  (Frank's wife)  when I started this project 5 years ago. In  those letters, I explained to her that the players in my band  generally don't get paid enough to pay for  their parking  on those  concert nights,  and I always lose money. I also asked for her blessing in continuing Frank's legacy. I never heard  back from her, so  I decided to go ahead and do the concerts anyway.
Well, 2 or 3  years go by and I  finally get a record deal with Astor Place  Records. Negotiations between  company lawyers and the Zappa estate  are slow and strained.  At one point, a Zappa lawyer says to  an Astor Place lawyer,  "Gail is not happy that Ed  Palermo is  making a  living off  of her  husband's music."
MAKING A LIVING?!!  It was at  that point I  realized there was nothing I could ever do to  win her over. Like I said before, I understand, and even admire, her loyalty to her husband, but it is  just plain  delusional to  think anyone  could make  a dime playing, "Dog Breath Variations" with an 18 piece big band. So, it was at  that point that I  stopped caring whether the Zappas accept me or  not. I still wish  them the best, because they're Frank's  loved ones,  but there  is  only so  much I  can do. I recently met Gail's sister, Sherrie.  What a sweetheart! We met at this Zappa  tribute in Florida I  was involved with 2 months ago. She couldn't  have been nicer. She  also brought along her husband and some others, including a beautiful young actress by the name of Lala who happens to be Gail and Sherrie's niece. We all hung out quite a lot  during the weekend and they seemed to love the  concert, especially Lala,  because she  spent most of her life  in the Zappa  household, hearing  Frank's music being composed through the walls. She  was openly weeping during some of  the  numbers,  as  was Sherrie.  It  was  such  a beautiful weekend. And all of us (Ike Willis, me, Jerry Outlaw, the great guitarist from  a group called  Bogus Pomp) kept  trying to get Sherrie to relay  back to Gail how  much we sincerely love this music, how much money we're losing, and mainly, that we are not the enemy. I  know Sherrie understood, but  it's yet to be seen if she has swayed Gail. Time will tell.

JH: I feel  that this album is  the only thing Zappa-related to have come out since his death  that does something new with the material. Do you  have any comment  on some of  the Zappa cover bands,  albums   they've released,   or the   frequent Rykodisc re-releases of Zappa material?

EP: Well, I saw The Band From Utopia play a couple years ago at Irving Plaza and was blown away! I thought they were fantastic!
I   loved  hearing  those  great  players  again.  Tommy  Mars, especially, but they were all great. Their CD is good, too, but not as good as  their live show was.  They played a really cool original by Chad Wackerman.
My project is different because it  would be a waste of my time to try  to replicate  something that's  been done  before. It's okay for  The Band  From Utopia because  they are  the guys who helped formulate that music. My project has to be my personality or it would be false. The  way I see it, as long as I get the  melodies and harmonies right,  however I dress it up (arrange the music)  is my business. If  you like it, great! If not, that's cool, too.
I  also like  the cover  bands  Project/Object and  Bogus Pomp. They're very talented and extremely  sincere. You have to be to learn FZ's impossible music.

JH: You played  a Zappa gig down  in Florida with an orchestra? What was that like?

EP: Incredible!  I spoke  at a  symposium the  night before the concert along with several very  learned Ph.D.s. (I still don't know why they  invited me). Anyway, the  whole weekend was this incredible love-fest for  the music of  Frank Zappa. The energy was astounding!  The orchestra played  the music flawlessly and Bogus Pomp  was incredible!  I was  fortunate to  play a couple solos (on alto  sax) with them on  "Black Napkins" and "Peaches En  Regalia".  It  all happened  in  St.  Petersburg  this past January.

JH:  Someone  from alt.fan.frank-zappa  wants  me to  ask about "that crazy  guy in  the Alice  Cooper makeup."  He says you'll know what this means. So I'm asking.

EP: He's referring to Ted Kooshian, my 2nd keyboardist. He's an unbelievably  gifted   pianist/composer who   has added   a new dimension to the music by  playing (via a sampler) harpsichord, tympani,  B3   organ, celeste,   glockenspiel, and   many other sounds. He  can handle any  part I  throw at him!  He's also an extremely   bizarre  fellow,  thus  the  Alice  Cooper  makeup.

JH: On a related note, what do you think of die hard Zappa fans and do you consider yourself a member of this club?

EP: Yeah, I think you could  definitely consider me a member of this club.  I've met many  of these  folks in the  5 years I've been doing this and  I never tire of  hearing them thank me for keeping the music alive. I  truly appreciate them!! Like I said before, there are quite a few Zappa tunes I don't like, but the amount of  tunes that  I'm in love  with far  exceed the ones I don't. I guess you'd have to be hardcore to spend the time I do transcribing this music for no money!

JH: If on  a desert island,  and were allowed  one Zappa album, which would it be?  No cheating, you can  only name one. I know this hurts.

EP: If you asked  me 5 years ago,  I would've either said Uncle Meat or  Burnt Weeny Sandwich  (probably "Burnt Weenie" because of the brilliant  "Little House I Used  To Live In"--Sugar Cane Harris--pure nirvana!). But since the re-release of 200 Motels, I gotta say, without a doubt, "200 Motels"! A lot of this music went over my head  as a kid (I was  around 16 when it was first released),but now  it just blows  my mind!  My favorite tracks? "Dental  Hygiene  Dilemma"  and "Lucy's  Seduction  of  a Bored Violinist and Postlude" Absolutely brilliant!

JH: Of course, you have a completely non-Zappa traditional jazz band.  Will they have any albums out soon?

EP: You are  referring to my  sextet. That's a  band called the "Burridge-Palermo Sextet". We play at a club called the 55 Bar. This is the club that Mike and Leni Stern play at all the time. My band's there  every other Sunday. The  next one is March 28. This  band  plays tunes  by  Cedar Walton,  Cannonball Adderly, Herbie Hancock, and others. This is mainly a vehicle for me and my co-leader,  Bud Burridge, to  improvise with. I  love it. No albums are  set yet  for this  group. I  spend most  of my time trying to get this damn big-band off the ground!
If I  may say  one last thing  here about  the Zappa project: I truly hope to  do this for  a very long  time because I believe that Frank's music  is just as great  as the music of Gershwin, Charles Ives,  Samuel Barber,  Cole Porter,  Aaron Copland, and many other American composers.  Because of his affiliation with the world of rock and roll,  he might not be taken as seriously as those composers  for some years to  come. Regardless, I feel it's important to keep the legacy alive.
What Edgar  Varese was  to Frank Zappa,  Frank Zappa  is to me.

(c) LeisureSuit.net


    From Andre Cholmondeley
    June 1, 2004:

It's tonight folks!!! TUES JUNE 1

-- Project Object UNPLUGGED -- in NYC!!

Tues Jun 1 - doors 6pm
BB King Blues Club & Grill

A Double bill -WITH the Ed Palermo Big Band....featuring Zappa/Mothers alumni Napoleon Murphy Brock on Vocals + Sax !!!

Come hear some classic Zappa music... Rendered on Acoustic guitars/Mandolins/Violin/bass... Then with a HORN DRIVEN BIG BAND !!!

PROJECT OBJECT UNPLUGGED --Set time 7­ 8pm  -  $20 tix

Zappa music.... ACOUSTIC!!

Andre Cholmondeley * Jordan Shapiro * Dave Johnsen * Seahag

Special guest Dennis Lichtman and other members of Jordan's band ASTROGRASS




Doors @ 6PM         Project Object at 7pm-8pm  -  All Tix $20.00

Ed Palermo Website <http://www.palermobigband.com>
Napoleon Brock Website <http://www.napoleonmbrock.com/>

For the past nine years, Ed Palermo and a 20+ piece band consisting of the greatest musicians in New York and beyond have paid tribute to the music of Ed's hero, Frank Zappa.

When Frank Zappa died, Ed decided to put his own music on hold so he could pay tribute to his hero. Spending countless hours figuring this amazing music out, Ed's labor of love culminated in a nine year run at New York City's prominent nightclub, the Bottom Line.

This show will be their first concert back since July of 2003.


jimmie d made a comparison of Ed Palermo's first album with its advance promo.

Official album titled "The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa" 53 minutes 17 seconds

  1. Peaches En Regalia 2:51
  2. Toads Of The Short Forest 7:05
  3. Who Are The Brain Police? // Holiday In Berlin (excerpt) 5:16
  4. Twenty Small Cigars 5:42
  5. King Kong 4:08
  6. Aybe Sea 5:12
  7. Waka/Jawaka 5:15
  8. Sofa No. 1 4:35
  9. The Little House I Used To Live In 5:27
  10. We Are Not Alone 5:20
  11. wai,fn? 2:21

Advance promotional copy version titled "Ed Palermo Big Band: Big Band Zappa" 60 minutes 49 seconds

  1. Peaches En Regalia 2:51
  2. Toads Of The Short Forest 7:05
  3. Who Are The Brain Police? // Holiday In Berlin (excerpt) 5:39 (different longer mix)
  4. Twenty Small Cigars 5:42
  5. King Kong 4:08
  6. Aybe Sea // Inca Roads (excerpt) 5:51 (different mix with extra song)
  7. Waka/Jawaka // Son Of Orange County (7:18) (different mix with extra song)
  8. Sofa No. 1 4:35 (early mix without certain horn overdubs)
  9. The Little House I Used To Live In//Mother People 6:08 (different mix with extra song)
  10. Heavy Duty Judy // Grand Wazoo (excerpt) 4:13 (two extra songs)
  11. Finale From Carnival Of The Animals 1:32 (extra song)
  12. We Are Not Alone 5:20
  13. wai,fn? 0:23 (different shorter mix)

2007 05 - from the cuneiform newsletter

The Ed Palermo Big Band


Carl Restivo's video on the making of our new CD "Take You Clothes Off When You Dance" edited by John Palermo:


Friday June 8, 2007
The Cutting Room
19 West 24th Street ?between Broadway and 6th Avenue 
New York City
7:30pm & 8:45pm -- 2 shows
Tickets: $25 @ www.smarttix.com
For reservations and general information:?(212) 691-1900 (weekdays from 1:00PM - 5:00PM)

Wednesday June 20, 2007 
7:30pm -- 90 minute show
Rodney Square ?11th & Market Streets
Wilmington, DE 19801
*Please Note: this is a FREE concert and open to the public. Plenty of room for everyone, bring a blanket or lawn chair. All events are rain or shine.

Friday June 29, 2007
7:45pm - 9pm
opening for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones!

Sunday August 19, 2007
2 shows at 8+10.

2009 07 25 newsflash

Wednesday August 12

 The Ed Palermo Big Band 
with Rob Paparozzi 
Echo Lake Park, Mountainside, NJ 
Free concert begins at 7:30

In case of rain, concerts will be held at the air-conditioned auditorium at Cranford High School, on West End Place off Springfield Avenue in Cranford at 7:30 p.m. 
For rain information call the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal at (908) 558-4079 or visit the Union County web site: www.ucnj.org/parks/summerarts.html


Wednesday August 26

1650 Broadway at 51 Street, NYC 
Shows at 9pm & 10:30pm


Wednesday September 9
with special guest 
Napoleon Murphy Brock!

125 Fifth Ave. 
Brooklyn, NY 11217 
8:00pm Doors open / 8:30pm Show

Ed Palermo at DHPAC, posted on YouTube on May 23, 2009

2010 04

Ed Palermo says:

Folks, we have a really cool gig coming up Tuesday, April 20th. It's
really inexpensive ($15) and features 2 bands.

The club, Canal Room, is a beautiful and cozy place in Soho.

The doors open at 7:30 PM.
The first show is at 8 PM featuring the ED PALERMO BIG BAND playing
one 60 minute set. You people who have seen us live know that we
pack a lot of music in one hour.

The second show features an incredible funk band named FUNKASAURUS
REX featuring the amazing drummer of the original Brecker Brothers
band, Chris Parker. It also features one of the greatest guitarists
on the planet, former Spyro Gyra member, Jay Azzolina.

The Ed Palermo Big Band will be back at Iridium (our current home
base) June 23 (Wednesday) for those of you planning their summer
events, but in the meantime, this gig at the Canal Room is gonna be
a killer!



2010 08


Hello, folks!

I know it's only 3 weeks away, but this is going to be a REALLY cool gig.

We will play a 2 hour show starting at 8 PM at a beautiful club called THE CITY WINERY


NYC 10013


$25 cover

Your ticket will include the live musical entertainment, the specially curated wines flights and seating for the night. We will be choosing 9-10 wines that will offer you a host of opportunities to experience the magic of  ZAPPA AND ZIN.

We hope to see you there!



July 20, 2016 rehearsal New York City  






the others of invention



 c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k   l   m 
 n   o   p   q   r   s   t   u   v   w   x   y   z
soundtracks various artists