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Zao - Ethnic 3 Live CD (album) cover





3.88 | 5 ratings

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4 stars I don't know much about the technicalities that make a certain album or artist zeuhl, but I'm fairly certain that this is a jazz album. Zao's earlier albums sound more like what I expect zeuhl to sound like, but this album definitely sounds like jazz of some unknown ethnic origin, given the title of this album. Zeuhl or not, Ethnic-3 Live is one of the most interesting jazz albums I've heard in a long time, mostly sounding like a perfect crossover of Hiromi and Sun Ra, with beautiful acoustic piano, energetic ethnic percussion, and sincerely saxophone.

The tracks on this album, being recorded live, sound like improvisational jams rather than actual songs. That being said, if these are improvisations, they are great. Maybe Zao aren't jazz masters of any sort, but the melodies in the improvisations really stand out and hold onto the listener. One thing that I've really liked about this album is the sound quality - it's fantastic. Everything is sharp and pointy in the mix, and each of the three musicians really stick out on their own. The only track on this album that doesn't really fit would be "Trebla", which includes electric hip-hop sounding beats, new-age choir sounds, and annoying vocals that pierce through the mix. It really ruins the laid back jam feel of the album, but luckily the track ends with some beautiful jazz lines. On a better note, one of my personal favorites on this album is "Felix" which has a very strong funky jungle jazz groove that is super infectious.

This album is definitely on my top 10 obscure live jazz albums, and I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking for a groovier and more acoustic Sun Ra type of album. Some of this album is even great for chill lounge music, which is always a good atmosphere to have music like this prepared for.

Highly recommended.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |


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