Frank Zappa's comprehensive knowledge of musics both scholarly and street-level was rather impressive (to say the least), as this unauthorized look at the man's influences covers basically what amounts to a history of 20th century musics. So, in effect, this DVD is, in itself, a good history lesson.
From the early modern classical and avante-classical inspirations of Edgard Varese and Stravinsky to doo-wop, early blues, r&b, and along the path to free jazz and fusion, Zappa always had his fingers on the heart of sound itself. The man was literally one of the century's greatest artistic minds, and when he left this mortal coil in 1993, he left a legacy of always-smart, often silly, and sometimes outright weird recordings, many of which attest to the genre-bending capabilities of Zappa himself. He brought in a number of since-became-legendary musicians (George Duke, Adrian Belew, Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio, and others) to realize his projects. Some of these players, peers, writers, and Zappa fans are allowed their say here, and it comes together rather well. "The Freak-Out List" isn't only for avowed Zappa fans...it will make non-fans curious to hear more of this man's seminal works. Now I need to track down "Weasels Ripped My Flesh"... (Sexy Intellectual via MVD Visual)
Zappa's official site