Today is Frank Zappa Birthday and in honor of his special day, we would like to share one of his most famous pieces for drum set, The Black Page. This video features Terry Bozzio and Steve Vai with the Zappa plays Zappa band. The video begins with the Black Page #1, which was originally written as a solo for Terry Bozzio. He explains:

Zappa wrote it because we had done this 40-piece orchestra gig together and he was always hearing the studio musicians in LA that he was using on that talking about the fear of going into sessions some morning and being faced with ‘the black page’. So he decided to write his “Black Page”. Then he gave it to me, and I could play parts of it right away. But it wasn’t a pressure thing, it just sat on my music stand and for about 15 minutes every day for 2 weeks before we would rehearse, I would work on it. And after 2 weeks I had it together and I played it for him. And he said, “Great!” took it home, wrote the melody and the chord changes, brought it back in. And we all started playing it. (Reference)

The second part, which features guitarist Steve Vai, is the Black Page #2. After the popularity of the Black Page #1, Zappa decided to write a melody so the entire band could perform this piece.

Has anyone ever played the Black Page? Let us know your thoughts and experiences with this piece. Leave a comment below.

Originally posted on DrumChattr on December 21, 2010.

Dave Gerhart

Dave Gerhart

Dr. Dave Gerhart, Product Manager, Percussion for Yamaha Corporation of America and Lecturer of Percussion at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU, Long Beach, is a nationally recognized performer, composer, and educator. Dr. Gerhart, originally from Fairfield, California, holds a D.M.A. from the University of Southern California, M.M. in Percussion Performance and Instrumental Conducting and a B.M. in Music Education from California State University, Long Beach.
Dave Gerhart

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