Frank Zappa, ca. 1963
File under: random jazz archives.
This is Frank Zappa on the Steve Allen Show in 1963. Though the Free Jazz movement was well underway by the time this appearance/performance took place, what Zappa was doing here was actually really on the edge as far as live television went -- as Allen's constant joking around and the audience's nervous laughter shows.
Also watch Part 2.
What I like about Zappa is the way he quite unassumingly asks the host of the show, the musicians in the band, and the technician in the control booth to join him in the performance. He's directive the way a scientist performing an experiment might be, and clearly the music has formal planning principles. But the sound that comes out is essentially completely random, almost not worth listening to. At this early point, Zappa himself is utterly nondescript, and it's what he says and the way he talks (which are definitely a part of the "performance") that interests me most.