PREVIEW: CAMBRIDGE MODERN JAZZ CLUB - John Etheridge's Zappatistas Thursday 26 February

Frank Zappa's zany pop-rock-agitprop was so far ahead of its time it still sounds subversive today.

The affectionate part of his love-hate relationship with jazz seems to be reciprocated ever more warmly since his death. It was with obvious enthusiasm that John Etheridge began his latest guest week with a reunion of the seven-piece Zappatistas. Their reunions are just frequent enough to make these cerebral scores sound ever more precise. Etheridge, wielding a new solid-body guitar custom-made by Martyn Booth, gave two Zappa classics, The Grand Wazoo and Peaches En Regalia, the full Brian May meltdown treatment. Synthkeyboarder Steve Lodder, ideal for this multifaceted material, was alert to its mood changes and eager to ignite note-blurring runs of his own.

It's tough for brass to match such energy but trumpeter Rory Simmons, tenorist Simon Bates and raw-toned trombonist Annie Whitehead did their best while Mike Bradley (drums) and Rob Statham (bass) toiled heroically. Statham's stunning solo on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace was the nastiest of the evening.

"Frank didn't really do sensitive," Etheridge noted after changing the pace with a tender guitar-piano duet, "but we like it." Zappa certainly loved his children but he must have hoped that two of them, Dweezil and Moon Unit, would make names for themselves.

Junction Shed Theatre, Cambridge Leisure Park, Clifton Way, Cambridge CB1 7GX Box Office: The Junction 01223 511511 or on-line at

Doors 8pm/start 8.30pm

Price £16/£12 CMJC Members/Students

£15 Arts Picture House Members

Student standby £8 (on the door)