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Thread: Zazu

  1. #1
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    Zazu

    Zazu where a band who released (sadly) only one album on Wooden Nickel.
    They where often compared to their stalemates Styx which I think is far from true.

    They remind me a lot more of Ambrosia (there early albums rule!), but where Ambrosia
    had their mix of Pop and Prog perfectly arranged and produced, Zazu bring in some
    Kansas like rock energy.

    They could have become a band on the same level as Kansas or Ambrosia, if thing went other ways.

    They recorded enough for a second album, but this will never see the light of day...

    This album always leaves me happy after hearing it, and many times I just push the start button again.

    So any love for Zazu?



    Be sure to get passed the first 4 minutes on this one!!


    I simply love this one:

  2. #2
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    I agree with the comparison to Ambrosia. Perhaps some Kansas as well. The big suite was the highlight of the album. I think it was bootlegged on CD.

    How was the second album material?

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    I used to own that album back when it was relatively new, haven't heard it in years but I do remember liking it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    I agree with the comparison to Ambrosia. Perhaps some Kansas as well. The big suite was the highlight of the album. I think it was bootlegged on CD.

    How was the second album material?
    Actually they recorded double the material that found space on vinyl for the first album. So it will be close to these songs.

    Sadly only the band members will ever heared this stuff.

    All CD releases for Zazu are bootlegs.

  5. #5
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    I met and became friends with the keyboard player (and one of the two lead singers), John Melnick circa 1980. I played guitar on a demo he made in '81 and in turn, he played and sang on a demo I made in '82 (and those of you familiar with my prog/fusion band, Bad Dog U might be surprised to learn that I used to write tunes with vocals and lyrics). I thought John's tunes were great and he was a strong player and could sing his ass off! He admitted to being a big fan of Ambrosia and Todd Rundgren. I tried to form a band with him at the time, but his post-traumatic stress over what happened with Zazu was so great that he didn't want to try the band thing ever again. He was making a good living for a while as a studio singer, but that scene basically dried up about 15 years ago. I still run into to him once every couple of years and he still freelances with wedding bands and such. It's too bad about Zazu; they WERE good!

  6. #6
    HIGHLY underrated album, and the "It's a Notta Sonatta" thing is one of my fave 70s US "prog" epics. "Upon the Island Unisphere" is great as well, and even the somewhat silly "Country Eyes" opener has a few very interesting licks about it. The production is out of this world (for its time), with some of the most deliciously crispy percussion sound and rhodes-vs.-Hammond carpets of the day. I love those vocal harmonies, and the "bursting" part of the "Sonatta" is heavier and more majestic than almost anything else being attempted by a band of this specific sort back then.

    I was more or less mocked the last time I tried posting clips from this album in here, btw.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  7. #7
    HIGHLY underrated album
    Agreed!

  8. #8
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    Hmmm...I wonder if the master tapes still exist....

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    Sounds great - perhaps a good candidate for a Modulus remaster, should the master tapes still be around...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheH View Post
    Be sure to get passed the first 4 minutes on this one!!
    What's wrong with the first 4 minutes? I find them highly entertaining!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Zalmoxe View Post
    What's wrong with the first 4 minutes? I find them highly entertaining!
    Yes, it's nice up until there as well (vocals are good and the jazzy piano licks are killer!) - but it's what actually occurs afterwards which essentially makes this album and gives it a downright "progressive" alibi; the sheer force of that part, when provided adequate volume on a decent rack, works in cathartic proportions. Kansas never succeeded in producing anything as profoundly grand in sound as that, not even the "Magnum Opus" opening sequence. But like I said; you have to hear it loudly and on proper equipment.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  12. #12
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zalmoxe View Post
    Sounds great - perhaps a good candidate for a Modulus remaster, should the master tapes still be around...
    I would be the first who buys it

    Quote Originally Posted by Zalmoxe View Post
    What's wrong with the first 4 minutes? I find them highly entertaining!
    Exactly what Scotum Scissor said.

  13. #13
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    Someone should reissue this album.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    Someone should reissue this album.
    I know for a fact that Greg W. stocks a digipack rendition of some sort, but I don't know if it's a boot or an "Asian" or whatever. But hell yes; say if the band members were to allow for anything restover (intended for a second album?) to appear as well, I'd sure as Santa buy it!

    Meantime I'll coze around with that ol' vinyl of mine.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  15. #15
    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    Greg is selling a bootleg.

  16. #16
    Well, then.

    Someone should reissue this sucker.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  17. #17
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I know for a fact that Greg W. stocks a digipack rendition of some sort, but I don't know if it's a boot or an "Asian" or whatever. But hell yes; say if the band members were to allow for anything restover (intended for a second album?) to appear as well, I'd sure as Santa buy it!

    Meantime I'll coze around with that ol' vinyl of mine.
    Sadly my vinyl is in the worst possible shape.

    Have to confess that I own the bootleg CD (wasn't aware when I ordered it), which is fine apart from being a pirates theft.

    I think there was never anything recorded for a second album, just an albums worth of outtakes from the first album.

  18. #18
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Well, then.

    Someone should reissue this sucker.
    The hell yeah, and let him put all this unissued stuff on it too!!!!!

  19. #19
    The CD issue of this is on SouthSide, a pirate label. They also did the Attila (Billy Joel) album (which I guess was never legally released on CD, for semi-obvious reasons), Think: We’ll Give You a Buzz (speaking of albums that need a proper reissue! It’s not all that great, but any album with such an amazing album cover needs to be rescued from obscurity!) and a 2-on-1 reissue of the first Ragnarok (NZ) album with the (archival) live album.

    The Zazu LP on Wooden Nickel isn’t actually all that rare, so you may as well just pick it up and transfer it digitally yourself. That’s what I did. I think my copy cost about $8, quite reasonable. They’re an odd duck of a band, they sounded like they started off being heavily influenced by folk-rock bands like the Byrds, then decided to add proggy synth/keyboard influences to their music. I think “Upon the Island Unisphere” displays the crossover to its strongest (if not necessarily best) effect. I really don’t think this is all that great an album, but I do enjoy it to a degree and am glad I own it. It’s certainly a different approach to prog, maybe the later (Warren Ham-led) Bloodrock albums are a bit comparable.

    -------------
    MIKE (a.k.a. "Progbear")

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    o consagrar una propia estrella" --Alberto Felici

    N.P.:“Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”-Tomita/Firebird

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    The CD issue of this is on SouthSide, a pirate label. Think: We’ll Give You a Buzz (speaking of albums that need a proper reissue! It’s not all that great, but any album with such an amazing album cover needs to be rescued from obscurity!) and a 2-on-1 reissue of the first Ragnarok (NZ) album with the (archival) live album.

    Zazu sounded like they started off being heavily influenced by folk-rock bands like the Byrds, then decided to add proggy synth/keyboard influences to their music. [...] I really don’t think this is all that great an album, but I do enjoy it to a degree and am glad I own it. It’s certainly a different approach to prog, maybe the later (Warren Ham-led) Bloodrock albums are a bit comparable.
    The Think album is alright, but nothing too special - however, I certainly agree about the cover. I was happy when the Ragnarok CD came out, although I wish they'd done Nooks instead (and why not have a go at the Greg Sneddon, Chetarca, Schtung, Airlord and Chris Neal albums?).

    The analogy between Zazu and later Bloodrock is interesting, but I always kind of felt that Gypsy (post-debut album) was the best comparison, or maybe even someone as outrageously obscure as Froggie Beaver. Personally, I think the "symph and jazzy roots-rock" approach had a surprisingly refreshing appeal to it, and I'd like to hear more if there was any.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  21. #21
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    Bloodrocks Passage and Whirlwind Tongues are really two fine albums.

    The Think album is just nice heavy rock, but the cover is outrageaus.

    I only have the Airlord from the NZ ones, and that one is a really good one.

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    Wow! That was a blast from the past. I haven't heard this in years (I lost 40% of my vinyl collection in a flood a few years back).

    Thanks for posting.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I always kind of felt that Gypsy (post-debut album) was the best comparison, or maybe even someone as outrageously obscure as Froggie Beaver.
    Well, Gipsy going AORish-symph is the best comparison I guess to Zazu. Froggie Beaver has a more "proto" sound...
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by spacefreak View Post
    Well, Gipsy going AORish-symph is the best comparison I guess to Zazu. Froggie Beaver has a more "proto" sound...
    I agree, but then I believe Froggie were an earlier band (1971-73, I think?). I believe the third Gypsy album was Antithesis, where their own "proto"-affiliations are gone and they have moved towards contemporary Santana and what the first rendition of Journey would be up to later. The easy-going melodies, smooth vocal harmonies and hashy Hammond chords remain, though.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  25. #25
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    A song from John Melnick in the 80ties, which was offered to Kansas but got rejected.

    Way to 80ties AOR, but still kinda interesting:


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