Frank Zappa and The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra

September 17, 18 and 19, 1975 - Royce Hall, UCLA

What follows is an ongoing attempt to document the Frank Zappa orchestral performances that took place in Los Angeles in September 1975. Very little has ever been documented about these shows and this serves as an attempt to shed some light on them.

The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra was put together in September of 1975 to present a series of orchestral pieces written by Frank Zappa. Michael Zearott was the conductor and Frank produced and recorded most of these shows along with special recording sessions. Forty musicians were assembled by Zappa with help from Earle Dumler and Mike Altschul. Frank stated that the cost to present this material was $120,000, twice what it cost to put on the Zubin Mehta, L.A. Philharmonic Contempo Concert that included a special cast of Mothers. Royce Hall at UCLA held 1500 people for two public performances on the 17th and 18th of September 1975, and with as much money as Frank had put into the project, he was sure not to see any profit at the door. So the 18th performance was recorded along with some separate earlier closed recording sessions that day. On the 19th, the Hall was closed for recording only. Much of these performances were released on the album "Orchestral Favorites" a controversial release put out by Warner Brothers against Frank's wishes. Check out Biffy's website for more on this. The orchestra seemed to really get into the spirit of the pieces. Pamela Goldsmith talks about the shows elsewhere on this web site. Frank said that after the orchestra went through 'Pedro's Dowry' for the first time, there was an ovation from the performers themselves.

This is the list of musicians that I have put together from various sources. Big thanks to Charles Ulrich (and the many musicians who he's contacted), Pamela Goldsmith, Bruce Fowler, Malcolm McNab, Don Waldrop, Ralph Grierson, David Ocker, Rob Sweet, Reinhard Preuss, Uli Mrosek, Michael Gula, Román García Albertos, David Sherr and to Frank for talking on the radio a little about it in 1975.

Frank Zappa - guitar, composer
Alan Estes - percussion
John Bergamo - percussion
Emil Richards - percussion
Tom Raney - percussion
Terry Bozzio - drums
Dave Parlato - bass
Mike Lang - keyboards
Ralph Grierson - keyboards
Ian Underwood - keyboards
Bill Mays - clavinet
Bobby Dubow - violin
John Wittenberg - violin
Pamela Goldsmith - viola
Jerry Kessler - cello
Lou Anne Neill - harp
Gene Goe - trumpet
Malcolm McNab - trumpet
Roy Poper - trumpet
Bruce Fowler - trombone
Jock Ellis - trombone
Kenny Shroyer - trombone
Dana Hughes - bass trombone
Don Waldrop - tuba and contrabass trombone
Arthur Briegleb - French horn
David Duke - French horn

Todd Miller - French horn
Bob Henderson- French Horn
Dave Shostac - flute, tenor sax

Gary Foster - 2nd flute (and doubles)
Ray Reed - flute, alto sax
Vic Morosco - clarinet, alto sax
Jay Migliori - clarinet, tenor sax
Mike Altschul - bass clarinet, baritone sax

Earle Dumler - oboe, English horn, bass oboe
John Winter - oboe, English horn
David Sherr - 2nd oboe and tenor saxophone
JoAnn Caldwell - bassoon
Bobby Tricarico - bassoon, contra bassoon

Don Van Vliet - soprano saxophone (Strictly Genteel)
Tommy Morgan – harmonica
Andre Lewis - organ

David Riddles - bassoon


Sheridan Stokes - flute, sax (replaced Gary Foster for a post-concert recording session)
Ray Pizzi - bassoon (quit during rehearsals)

recently removed:
Joan Elardo - oboe, English horn

last updated: July 29, 2009


September 17, 1975
Bogus Pomp
Revised Music for Low Budget Orchestra
Pedro's Dowry
Dog Meat
Naval Aviation in Art?
Sink Trap
Duke of Orchestral Prunes
Strictly Genteel

September 18, 1975
Bogus Pomp
Revised Music For Low Budget Symphony Orchestra
Pedro's Dowry
Black Napkins
Dog Meat
Naval Aviation In Art?
Sink Trap
Duke Of Orchestral Prunes
Steno Pool/New Brown Clouds (from Greggery Peccary)
Strictly Genteel

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