Your Views for December 20

Art should agitate

This was my first opportunity to hear the UH-Hilo Jazz Orchestra. I was very impressed that the band director was progressive enough to do Frank Zappa’s music. It is so seldom heard because it is edgy and difficult to play.


The band did an excellent job, including the silly stage antics for which Zappa was famous. The interpretation was mild; defibrillators might have been required if this had been a real Zappa show.

I was extremely happy with this concert, but this music wasn’t for everyone. The Pope is out of place in a strip club, and not everyone will enjoy Zappa’s music.

A bit of research prior to the show might have been enlightening to people unfamiliar with this music. Zappa was a musician’s musician. He won many awards and is held in high regard as a genius by most skilled musicians.

He also was a very outspoken voice against censorship of the arts and presented a very eloquent speech to Congress when Tipper Gore was trying to get rap music banned.

Censorship is what drove Frank to create such outlandish music.

Zappa’s humor was controversial and often cut deeply at the beliefs held by our culture. If you listen to Zappa and he didn’t offend your senses in one way or another, then you are most likely already dead.

I thank the director for having the progressive mindset and courage to play this music for us. I suspect people who didn’t enjoy the show were just in the wrong place.

Art should be challenging, and sometimes disturbing, and should always open the minds of people willing to try and understand why the artist created the work.

Please do it again and again. The show was excellent.


Bill Merrill

Mountain View