010397 The Dangerous Kitchen, Ottawa, ON

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On January 3rd, 1997 I found myself comfortably seated in the National Arts Centre Theatre enjoying a wacky, surreal performance of Frank Zappa’s music by an ensemble that called themselves The Dangerous Kitchen.

Clearly the band took their name from the wacky, surreal Frank Zappa song of the same name but the blatant mimicry ended there.  Instead of tackling Zappa’s music in a note-for-note copycat sort of way (why bother?) the group of Quebecois classical musicians presented intricate neo-classical modern interpretations of classic Zappa tunes and it was awesome.  Familiar melodies faded into strange modal explorations that soared on their own merit.  Classic freak-out rhythms were toned down to delicate motifs while satirical rock and roll singalongs were given the Schoenberg treatment.

Did I mention that it was awesome?

Also awesome (overall) was the Generations X, Y, Z series at the NAC that brought this show in.  I also caught the late, great Moe Koffman the very next evening as part of this mysterious and otherwise unheard of (by me, at least) Generations X, Y, Z series so yeah, it was pretty awesome.

I sure wish they would bring it back.  The series I mean, not specifically The Dangerous Kitchen.  Or Moe Koffman, who is dead.  That said, if the NAC did bring back The Dangerous Kitchen I would go again for sure.  If they brought Moe Koffman back I think I’d save my money and stay home.  Like I say, he’s dead.

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