The Black Page

Composer: Frank Zappa
saxophone quartet version

"The Black Page," which first appeared on Zappa in New York (recorded live in 1976), took its name from a comment of a band member to the effect that his chart contained so many notes that the page was black.  

The work is in fact two distinct pieces ("The Black Page" #1 and #2). Both are notoriously difficult to perform (though the second is somewhat less so), and #1 served on occasion as a test piece for Zappa's grueling auditions--he once instructed guitarist Steve Vai to memorize it and play it "as fast as he could," and on another occasion required the drummer Vinnie Colaiuta to sight-read the daunting solo percussion prelude.

Andrew Deruchie