“Waka/Jawaka” was released in 1972. It was the sequel to 1969’s “Hot Rats” and the sister album to “The Grand Wazoo.” The music was heavily influenced by Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew.” When I listen to this song and yesterday’s Soft Machine, I must confess I have a very hard time hearing the dividing line between Zappa’s jazz fusion and jazz influenced progressive rock. Not that it really matters ’cause it’s all good from where I sit.
To me, the term Waka/Jawaka sounds like the sort of wah wah guitar licks you’d find in 1970s films of a “certain type.” There is absolutely nothing in this song to suggest that Frank Zappa had anything even remotely like that in his mind when he wrote the music or the title. In fact, Zappa said the title came from “something that showed up on a Ouija board one time.” So here’s what I’m figuring, The Ouija board was probably channeling a fan of 1970’s films of a “certain type” who wanted to tell the world about his “hobby”. When you’re a non-corporeal being and you want to express your interests, what else are you going to do?