Zappa Documentary Spotlights UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra


ZAPPA U (2017)
80 Minutes
Music Documentary
Snap Judgment Films


Since 2013, the University of Hawaii Hilo Jazz Orchestra has performed annual Frank Zappa tribute concerts. This is their story… from classroom to concert hall.

In 2016, Professor Trever Veilleux and his students (the UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra) presented their fourth concert event, “Zappa4Ever.” Along with archival footage, the film tracks the students’ twelve weeks of rehearsals, their thoughts on Frank Zappa’s complex compositions, and what they take away from the final concert hall experience.

The documentary also features commentary from Cheryl “Quack” Moore (former Saturday Night Live Music Director), sax legend Lou Marini (appeared on several Frank Zappa albums), and photographer Chiu “Ray” Leong, who shot the cover for the seminal Mothers of Invention record “Freak Out!” The film concludes with the students performing several Zappa pieces in concert.


“When you think of music in Hawaii, perhaps you think of ukuleles, steel guitars or maybe slack-key guitar. All apply, but here’s something that’ll take your musical assumptions and turn them on their head, courtesy of Trever Veilleux and the UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra and rockumentarian Steven Roby. It’s well worth the hour-plus investment of your time, especially if you love or are curious about Frank Zappa and his music, and how a group of college musicians in the Pacific are becoming better by challenging themselves.”

– John Burnett  Hawaii Tribune-Herald


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