Fans of Frank Zappa rejoice — the Los Angeles-based guitarist and songwriter Zach Tabori has put out a new EP.
Entitled Ensemble, the EP is a 4-song, 11-minute odyssey celebrating the nature of live performance and Tabori’s eclectic musical fancies. Why is this such good news for fans of Zappa? Well, there are a couple of reasons — one being that Tabori enlisted longtime Zappa keyboardist, Tommy Mars, to play organ and sing on the EP. Another being that Tabori’s style is as flamboyant, whimsical and overwhelmingly musical as Zappa’s, making him a torchbearer of sorts of that colorful musical legacy.
One track which especially highlights that is the tongue-in-cheek dissection of the Los Angeles music scene, “Buy My Shirt.” With humorous falsettos, biting lyrical content and a collage of musical styles, the song feels like a 2020’s revamp of something off of We’re Only In It For The Money.
“‘Buy My Shirt’ is based on my experiences as a musician in Los Angeles and New York,” Tabori told American Songwriter. “It felt like a good idea at the time. I recorded it with some of my best friends, an underground Swedish brass ensemble and my favorite keyboard player in the world [Mars] using microphones, a tape machine, sheer willpower and a childlike sense of wonder and determination.”
Despite the short run-time of Ensemble, the project took over a month to record due to Tabori’s commitment to precise musical excellence. “I wanted the record to sound tight without sacrificing the ‘live’ feeling of what it would be like to see the band in concert,” he said. “I have always been fascinated by the chemistry of performance — to me, the live show is everything. So, even with the numerous overdubs, the core of each song is drums, bass, two guitars and keyboards played together in the same take.”
The end result is something feels as organic as it does larger-than-life. With pure rock riffs, undeniably funky horn parts and a spirit of freeform jazz, Ensemble shows that Tabori is a musical force to be reckoned with.
Listen to Zach Tabori’s Ensemble below: