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|Birth name||Thomas Mariano|
|Born||1951 (age 69–70)|
|Associated acts||Frank Zappa|
Tommy Mars (born Thomas Mariano on October 26, 1951)is an American keyboard player known for his work with Frank Zappa.
Mars began piano lessons at age eight, and later his instrument range expanded to various keyboards and synthesizers. Mars graduated in 1972 from the Hartt College of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut. From there he struggled to hold a variety of musical jobs including choirmaster, church organist, movie accompanist and more. In a 1980 interview in Keyboard magazine, Mars described one of the more unusual jobs he had as follows - "I was working in this revolving organ bar in Kodiak, Alaska, with Japanese and Russian fishermen kicking me in the back if I couldn't play an ethnic folk song to their drunken satisfaction".
Knowing nothing about Zappa except for the songs "King Kong" and "Peaches en Regalia", Mars was asked to audition for Zappa's band with the help of percussionist Ed Mann, also a member of Zappa's group. From 1977 to 1982 he was part of Zappa's touring band, appeared in the movie Baby Snakes, and recorded a number of Zappa albums.
After his work with Zappa, Mars alternated between teaching and touring with Steve Vai or Stuart Hamm. In mid-1990s, Mars formed (The) Banned From Utopia, a group consisting of 10 Zappa band alumni, performing Zappa's music as a tribute band.
In 2007 Strange News From Mars was presented, a jazz hybrid with Jon Larsen, on Zonic Entertainment, featuring Bruce Fowler, Jimmy Carl Black, Arthur Barrow, and other Zappa alumni. 2008 Tommy Mars has a brief (three tracks) appearance on The Jimmy Carl Black Story, together with the original Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black.
Spring 2009 saw the release of the 2005 recorded No Forest Fire: Tommy Mars together with The Band From Utopia members Bruce Fowler, Walt Fowler, Kurt McGettrick, Larry Klimas, Arthur Barrow, and Vinnie Colaiuta.
In 2010 Tommy Mars recorded the surrealistic audio book Willie Nickerson's Egg, written by Jon Larsen, released in 2011. At the Molde Jazz Festival 2014 Tommy Mars performed Willie Nickerson's Egg live (three sold out concerts), together with Arthur Barrow, Arild Andersen, Jon Larsen, etc.
James Carl Inkanish, Jr., known professionally as Jimmy Carl Black, was a drummer and vocalist for The Mothers of Invention.
The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life is a double-disc live album by American musician Frank Zappa, released in 1991. The album was one of three to be recorded during the 1988 world tour, along with Broadway the Hard Way and Make a Jazz Noise Here. Each of these three accounts of the 1988 tour has a different emphasis: Broadway the Hard Way mainly consists of new compositions; Make a Jazz Noise Here is a sampler of classic Zappa tunes, most of them instrumental; and The Best Band... devotes itself to covers. Some of these are unlikely, while many are from Zappa's extensive back catalogue. His mid-1970s output is emphasized in the selection, but there is also some material from the Mothers of Invention's late 1960s recordings and one song from 200 Motels. It was re-issued in 1995 and 2012 along with his entire catalogue.
Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute is a posthumous album by Frank Zappa.
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 is a double disc live album by Frank Zappa. It was released in 1988 under the label Rykodisc. It was the beginning of a six-volume, 12-CD set Zappa assembled of live performances throughout his career.
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6 is the last of six double disc collection volumes of live performances by Frank Zappa recorded between 1970 and 1988. All of the material on Disc one has a sexual theme. Zappa used the monologue in "Is That Guy Kidding or What?", to ridicule Peter Frampton's album I'm in You with its double entendre title and pop pretensions. Disc two includes performances from Zappa's shows between 1976 and 1981 at the Palladium in New York City, as well as material like "The Illinois Enema Bandit" and "Strictly Genteel" that he frequently used as closing songs at concerts. It was released on October 23, 1992 under the label Rykodisc.
The Man from Utopia is an album by American musician Frank Zappa, released in March 1983 by Barking Pumpkin Records. The album is named after a 1950s song, written by Donald and Doris Woods, which Zappa covers as part of "The Man from Utopia Meets Mary Lou".
The Lost Episodes is a 1996 posthumous album by Frank Zappa which compiles previously unreleased material. Much of the material covered dates from early in his career, and as early as 1958, into the mid-1970s. Zappa had been working on these tracks in the years before his death in 1993.
Bruce Lambourne Fowler is an American trombonist and composer. He played trombone on many Frank Zappa records, as well as with Captain Beefheart and in the Fowler Brothers Band. He composes and arranges music for movies, and has been the composer, orchestrator, or conductor for many popular films.
Donald Ward Preston is an American jazz and rock keyboardist. He is known for working with Frank Zappa from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s.
Trance-Fusion is an album of guitar solos completed by Frank Zappa shortly before his death, but not released until 2006. The album had previously been announced for release in 1999 and 2003, and again announced in 2005 in relation to the Zappa Plays Zappa tour. It had previously been only available through bootlegs.
Arthur Barrow is a multi-instrumental musician, best known for his stint as a bass guitar player for Frank Zappa in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Buffalo is a live album by Frank Zappa, posthumously released in April 2007 as a two-CD set, consisting of the complete concert given on October 25, 1980 at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York with a band that has previously been heard on Tinsel Town Rebellion (1981) and Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar (1981). It is the second installment on the Vaulternative Records label that is dedicated to the posthumous release of complete Zappa concerts, the first release being FZ:OZ, the concert on January 20, 1976 at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney.
Jon Larsen is a gypsy jazz guitarist, record producer, painter, and amateur scientific researcher. He is the founder of the group Hot Club de Norvège. In 2007 he received the Buddy Award for his lifelong contribution to jazz.
One Shot Deal is an album by Frank Zappa, posthumously released in June 2008.
Ed Mann is a musician who has been "a drummer and piano dabbler since childhood." He is best known for his mallet percussion performances onstage with Frank Zappa's ensemble from 1977 to 1988, and his appearances on over 30 of Zappa's albums, both studio recordings and with Zappa's band live. Mann also has released a number of CDs as a bandleader and composer.
You Are What You Is is a double album by American musician Frank Zappa. It was originally released as a double album in 1981 and later by Rykodisc as a 20-song CD.
Hot Club Records is a jazz record label established 1982, by guitarist Jon Larsen in Oslo, Norway. The label has released over 350 CDs, DVDs and books, mostly jazz related.
The Jimmy Carl Black Story is an album by Norwegian guitarist Jon Larsen.
A Portrait of Jon Larsen is a compilation album by Norwegian jazz guitarist Jon Larsen that was released on his label, Hot Club Records.
Strange News from Mars is an album by Norwegian guitarist Jon Larsen.