Zack Tabori admired Frank Zappa, and he’s done an excellent job of riffing off the master’s stylings. I hold in hands Tabori’s latest EP, a small but effective collection of rock and jazz sounds that sparkle. You can hear the Zappa jazz polish in all four tracks, but they are Tabori’s own invention. We open with “Lately It Feels Better Than Alright.” Here a stop/go rhythm chugs us down the track and an energetic guitar arc drives an early boogie-woogie rhythm. The lyrics make clever associations, and I particularly like “No more sleepin’ till you spend the night.” That certainly buttons up the message. Next we segue right in to “Slick.” This instrumental packs a “wackka wackka” Blaxploitation film riff that sounds better than “Shaft.” The heart of this tune lies in the polyester 1970’s, but its sparkles with sharp arrangement and an energetic percussion section.
Next we sample the most Zappa-esque track: “Buy My Shirt”. This opens with a ZZ Top style riff, but then Tabori drops into weird childlike lyrics, only to blast off into rock and roll guitar symbolism. The music bounces off the wall, you don’t know where you’re going but your hanging on for dear life. As a wrap up, “Lick” pushes a brass line that recalls TV theme music from the 1960’s. That’s about where mainstream music transitioned from big bands to big hair rock. It’s a fast, flashy trumpet underlaid with a Hammond B3 organ played at top speed. I was pleasantly surprised by this collection and hope someday to hear a full album by Mr. Tabori. He’s got the chops, and he’s got the tunes.