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Ian Underwood

Biography

Recognized mainly for his use Frank Zappa as well as the Mothers of Invention, Ian Robertson Underwood provides spent the majority of his adult life functioning in back of the scenes, first being a session guy and then being a keyboard synthesizer programmer focusing on mainstream film soundtracks. Blessed in NEW YORK on, may 22, 1939, Underwood performed within a dance music group in senior high school with bassist Steve Swallow. His earliest recognised recordings had been made throughout a advantage concert for the Lenox Jazz College in Massachusetts on August 29, 1959. On that auspicious event he performed flute and saxophone with two different systems: the Supplement Pomeroy Ensemble, including Ornette Coleman; and an organization led by Jimmy Giuffre. Underwood graduated from Yale in 1961 using a B.A. in structure, spent a little bit of period gigging around SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA using a music group known as the Jazz Mice, gained his master’s level at UC Berkeley in 1966, and supported faraway from a budding profession as a traditional pianist by becoming a member of Frank Zappa as well as the Moms of Invention in 1967. While his alto sax can be around We’re Just in It your money can buy and Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, it had been with the mind-blowing dual LP Uncle Meats that a part of the public 1st became alert to him by name. Inside a spoken intro to “Ian Underwood Whips It Out” (a steamy prolonged improvisation recorded reside in Copenhagen), he recognizes himself as “the directly person in the group,” indicating within the parlance of the changing times not really much his intimate orientation as his abstinence from intoxicants along with a soft-spoken, intellectual demeanor that contrasted highly using the freaky extroverted personas who produced the Moms this type of notoriously outrageous and woolly music group. Underwood’s method of improvisation over the alto saxophone shown a determination to come out that positioned him in group with free of charge jazz players like Marion Dark brown, Dewey Redman, John Tchicai, and Archie Shepp. He was as a result a fantastic addition to the Moms, a unit currently formidably endowed with edgy saxophonists by means of John Leon Bunk Gardner and Euclid Adam Motorhead Sherwood. Encircled by scowling, grimacing, pouting bandmates incongruously decked out in campy move, Underwood posed using a feather boa in an image used for the guts from the gatefold LP We’re Just in It your money can buy, that was a deliberate sendup from the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s product packaging. Underwood’s encounter was also prominently shown on the trunk cover of Burnt Weeny Sandwich, poised to bite into what is apparently a corrugated blob of foam silicone. Underwood was especially happy with the record Hot Rats. Being a classically educated multi-instrumentalist his tips had been clearly consistent with a few of Zappa’s Webern, Varèse, and Stravinsky-influenced tendencies. Underwood’s skills being a pianist and clarinetist significantly improved the chamber music facet of Zappa’s experimental mix, which blossomed therefore brilliantly on probably the most ambitious servings of Uncle Meats. In 1969 Underwood, Zappa, and chosen Moms collaborated with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty on his instrumental Blue Take note recording King Kong. In addition they supported Antennae Jimmy Semens (without having to be acknowledged) during “The Blimp” on Captain Beefheart’s triumphant dual LP Trout Face mask Replica. Underwood’s participation with Zappa’s group continuing for another four years, closing along with his departure following a launch of Apostrophe. During his last years using the Moms he wedded the excellent multi-percussionist Ruth Komanoff, whose xylophone got made such a notable difference within the textures of Uncle Meats and whose marimba became popular among Zappa enthusiasts through albums like Over-Nite Feeling and something Size Suits All. Underwood’s post-Zappa profession noticed him recede through the limelight (in addition to Zappa’s significantly raunchy comedy rock and roll) and into suffered involvement as support instrumentalist for an impressively varied range of documenting artists. Pretty much abandoning the woodwinds, he became nearly exclusively a key pad player focusing on synthesizers, and especially adept at managing the miniMoog. For another twenty years he transcended genre distinctions, earning a paycheck by providing digital support for performers operating within or close to the mainstream from the music market. The entire year 1975 brought him into connection with jazz music artists Freddie Hubbard, Alphonse Mouzon, and Quincy Jones. In 1976 he supported the rock-band Heart and jazz music artists Lee Ritenour and Carmen McRae. The index of performers with whom he documented during this time period reveals just what a essential supporting function he performed in well-known music from the past due ‘70s and early ‘80s. Periods with John Helpful, Alphonso Johnson, and Sergio Mendes had been accompanied by what had been ideally well-paying engagements with Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow. You should definitely support Milt Jackson or Gato Barbieri, Underwood was keeping the bottom for vocalists like Dusty Springfield, Peggy Lee, Manhattan Transfer, and Dolly Parton. He also anchored the 1985 all-star charity anthem WE HAVE BEEN the planet. Underwood’s synthesized keyboards have already been heard in film soundtracks for many years. Highlights out of this lucrative facet of his afterwards profession consist of Demon Seed (1977), Edge Runner (1982), Krull (1983), Aliens (1986), *Electric batteries Not really Included (1987), Field of Dreams and Honey, I Shrunk the youngsters (1989), Braveheart (1995), Titanic (1997), as well as the Four Feathers (2002). As he resolved into maturity along with a well-deserved pension, Underwood was living easily along with his second wife over the Western world Coast.

Quick Facts


Full Name Ian Underwood
Profession Songwriter, Keyboard Player
Education Yale University
Nationality American
Music Groups The Mothers of Invention, Plastic Ono Band
Music Songs Imagine, Working Class Hero, Give Peace a Chance, God, Mother, Woman Is the Nigger of the World, Love, Cold Turkey, New York City, Yer Blues, Well Well Well, Hold On, Remember, We're All Water, Camarillo Brillo, King Kong Itself, Look at Me, The Luck of the Irish, Blue Suede Shoes, Sisters, O Sisters, My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama, Billy The Mountain, My Mummy's Dead, I'm the Slime, Attica State, The Sun Is Down!, Peaches En Regalia, Jamrag, Let’s Make the Water Turn Black, Why, John Sinclair, Born in a Prison
Albums We're Only in It for the Money, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Uncle Meat, Over-Nite Sensation, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, Live Peace in Toronto 1969, Take Me to the Land of Hell, Fillmore East - June 1971, Between My Head and the Sky, Feeling the Space, Mothermania, ’Tis the Season to Be Jelly
Movies The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire, 200 Motels


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Music Department

Music Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Karate Kid 2010 synthesizer programmer
Avatar 2009 synthsizer programmer
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 2008 synthesizer programmer
The Spiderwick Chronicles 2008 music score programmer
The Life Before Her Eyes 2007 music score programmer
Apocalypto 2006 musician: synthesizer programming
All the King's Men 2006 synthesizer programmer
The New World 2005 synthesizer programmer
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius 2004 synthesizer programmer
Iris 2001/I synthesizer programmer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2000 Who-Band sound design
Mighty Joe Young 1998 musician
Titanic 1997 musician: instrumental solo
Escape from L.A. 1996 musician: synthesizer and keyboards
Braveheart 1995 instrumental soloist: synth programming, London Symphony Orchestra
Bopha! 1993 musician
House of Cards 1993 featured musician
Jack the Bear 1993 musician
Sneakers 1992 musician
Class Action 1991 musician
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys 1991 musician: instrumental solo
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids 1989 synthesizer: Programming & Performance by
Field of Dreams 1989 musician: instrumental solo
Winter People 1989 musician: keyboards
Willow 1988 musician: Fairlight synthesizer
No Way Out 1987 musician - as Ian R. Underwood
The Mosquito Coast 1986 musician: synthesizers
The Name of the Rose 1986 synthesizer programmer
Aliens 1986/I synthesizer effects
Witness 1985 musician: keyboards - uncredited
Gremlins 1984 musician: keyboards - uncredited
Krull 1983 synthesizer effects
Blade Runner 1982 musician: synthesizer
Escape from New York 1981 musician: synthesizer
Escape from Alcatraz 1979 musician: synthesizer - uncredited
Demon Seed 1977 electronic performances
Marathon Man 1976 musician: keyboards - uncredited
200 Motels 1971 music performer: Mothers of Invention

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
All the King's Men 2006 synthesizer programmer
Flightplan 2005 synthesizer programmer
The Chumscrubber 2005 synthesizer programmer
The Forgotten 2004 synthesizer programmer
Troy 2004 synthesizer programmer
The Missing 2003/I synthesizer programmer
Project X 1987 fairlight programmer

Composer

Composer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Art on Film, Program 3: Form 1992 Documentary
Whiz Kids 1983 TV Series 2 episodes
The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire 1981 TV Movie

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words 2016 Documentary performer: "This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich"
We Are The World: The Story Behind The Song 1985 TV Movie documentary "We Are the World", uncredited / arranger: "We Are the World" - uncredited

Sound Department

Sound Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
*batteries not included 1987 spaceship sounds
Brainstorm 1983 special synthesizer effects

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
200 Motels 1971 Member of Mothers of Invention

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Red Heat 1988 special acknowledgment
We Are The World: The Story Behind The Song 1985 TV Movie documentary special thanks
Days of Heaven 1978 special thanks

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The True Story of Frank Zappa's 200 Motels 1988 Video documentary Himself
Uncle Meat 1987 Video documentary Himself
Video from Hell 1985 Video Himself
Late Night Line-Up 1968 TV Series Himself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words 2016 Documentary Himself

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