The Z3 // Funky Takes on Frank
Some music is sacred. Like Frank’s. But that doesn’t mean that it’s an ant in amber, frozen forever in its last performance. The Z3’s “Funky Takes on Frank” is Tim, Beau and Bill’s way of playing the music they’ve obsessed over for years to the audiences that come to see them right now. With nothing but guitar, Hammond organ/keys, drums and three voices, The Z3 tackles everything from Freak Out to Broadway the Hard Way with a playful and adventurous spirit that has thus far tickled the fancies of both diehard FZ fans as well as those that “never knew they liked him.”
Organist Beau Sasser and drummer Bill Carbone discovered a shared passion for Frank Zappa while touring together in the band of guitarist Melvin Sparks. They daydreamed of a trio in the organ-funk style that performed nothing but Zappa, but who would complete the triumvirate and serve as the missing-link to bridge the two genres was a mystery. When guitarist/vocalist Tim Palmieri, a diehard Zappa fan, ended up on a string of regular Wednesday night funk gigs with The Beau Sasser Trio in November 2011, the Z3 was born. The three musicians knew each other from years working in the Northeast music scene, their chemistry was undeniable, and the transition from pickup band to the Z3 was as smooth as passage of quintuplets in 9/8.
The Z3 was created for fun, and that’s probably why audiences find it so enjoyable. The initial run of Z3 shows in Northampton, MA were jammed with fans of the individual musicians and of FZ, and, as the band worked toward engaging both the FZ material and the audience, the temperature has risen. Two years later, the Z3 has rocked the Blue Note Jazz Club in NYC, performed with longtime FZ band member Ed Mann, peppered the summer festival circuit with their Funky Takes on Frank, and delivered a legendary 3+ hour set at the Zappanale 24 festival in Bad Doberon, Germany. Give thanks for Frank!
Tim Palmieri is one of the most impressive guitarists on the national music scene today. Playing with his bands Kung Fu and The Breakfast alongside artists such as moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Tea Leaf Green, and Phish’s Mike Gordon, the New Haven native has amassed a loyal following of obsessive fans who keep tabs on just about every note.
While prominent in the jam scene for his aggressive and improvisational guitar style, Palmieri has grown equally comfortable behind an acoustic guitar and tours tirelessly as a solo performer. His acoustic showcases are peppered with a mix of thoughtful originals, classic covers and unexpected rarities, each of which he makes his own through a distinctive style of rhythmic looping.
At the same time, Palmieri refuses to get too comfortable as a performer and thrives on challenging himself in new ways. He has covered the entire Beatles catalogue in alphabetical order and knows a shocking number of FZ tunes among so many others. His current main project, Kung Fu, has been hailed as a modern super group.
Beau Sasser hit the music scene at a young age, traversing the snowy highways of Colorado for both All-State high school band gigs and shows with legends like John Denver and Jimmy Ibbotson of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In the mid-90s Sasser headed east for a stint at Berklee College of Music and soon found himself back on the highways with the successful jamband Uncle Sammy.
Around the year 2000 Sasser began performing almost exclusively on the Hammond Organ. In addition to his tenure as Melvin Sparks' preferred organist Sasser leads his own trio whose residency at Bishop's Lounge in Northampton, MA is now in its fifth year, performs in the trio of Soulive’s Alan Evans, and freelances like crazy.
Touring throughout the United States and internationally, Beau has performed with with Maceo Parker (James Brown), Warren Haynes(Allman Brothers), Alan Evans (Soulive), Nikki Glaspie (Beyonce), Michael Feingold (Erykah Badu), Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa) and jazz greats Fareed Haque and Melvin Sparks.
Born in the suburban cultural vacuum of CT, drummer Bill Carbone managed to graduate from his initial fascination with the dramatic plinkings of Rush and Yes to a broader palette of loves. Recently he’s played jazz and boogaloo with guitarist Melvin Sparks, funk with organist Beau Sasser's trio, jam-rock with Max Creek and Zach Deputy, original quirky jazz-type music with the sax 4tet plus bass and drums Dead Cat Bounce, and reggae and experimental dub music with his own group Buru Style and various vocalists such as Makengo (Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars), Ajahni, Toussaint Liberator, Shasha Marley and others. As a percussionist he's hit the Billboard charts on several albums by ROIR recording artists 10 ft Ganja Plant, graced several John Brown’s Body tracks and also recorded with the founding members of Jamaica's legendary Soul Syndicate Band.
Carbone is currently a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where he also teaches drums and steel pan while pecking away at a dissertation about gender and the Hammond Organ soul-jazz scene of the 1960s-70s. His writing has been featured in Wax Poetics, Modern Drummer, and in his bi-weekly New Haven Advocate column.