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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Zzebra

Zzebra (Vinyl LP)

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of the group’s debut 1974 album and it’s quite cool. I really love the quality of vinyl that’s coming out these days, and this is a perfect example. The main musical elements that combine here are world music and fusion. It’s a great set that’s sure to entertain, enlighten and please.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Side 1
Cobra Woman

There’s almost some country sound in the early sections of this cut. As it builds out, though, it’s got plenty of R&B. The powered up chorus is quite cool and there’s some tasty guitar soloing. They take it through a number of changes and this is just a great piece of music, even though it’s a little on the understated side. References to Traffic wouldn’t be out of place, but there’s a lot of other stuff here, too.

Mr J

The bass line that opens this is great. The cut has a definite world music vibe. Add in some jazz and a bit of that R&B sound and you’ll be in the right vicinity.

Mah Jong

Featuring some killer saxophone soloing, this energetic instrumental is a real powerhouse. It’s essentially pure fusion.

Ife

This one’s a bit too repetitive, but it does kind of lend a trance-sort of vibe. Beyond that we’ve got fusion meets world music.

Side 2
Spanish Fly
This is a killer bit of fusion. It’s an extended instrumental and really starts to gel when some smoking hot guitar starts soloing overhead (with Spanish flavors, of course). Horns and every other instrument all work to pull this in some great directions. The bass guitar particularly catches my ear late in the piece.
Amuso Fi

The usual players of world music and fusion are combined here. It’s got some of the most soulful singing of the whole set and I love some of the instrumental work, too. There’s also a bit of a drum solo in the middle of this thing.

Rainbow Train

This reminds me a lot of something War might have done. It’s got a lot of energy and a real groove. Fusion and rock music combine here with only little bits of world music. There are quite a few intriguing shifts and changes on this thing.

Hungry Horse

Powered up, this is pretty fast paced stuff. It’s got a real Frank Zappa meets fusion kind of sound to it. This number is one of the most extensive and dynamic cuts of the whole disc. It’s also one of the best.

 
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