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ZZEBRA

Zzebra

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Zzebra Zzebra album cover
3.13 | 20 ratings | 3 reviews | 5% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Plumade (3:14)
2. Prelucid (4:42)
3. Procession Of Moons (8:09)
4. Queen Of Cydonia (7:05)
5. Numismatic (3:37)
6. Drifting Cities (5:26)
7. Tong War (5:22)
8. Sweet Earth Flying (6:29)
9. Damask, Then (5:20)

Total time 49:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Terry Smith / guitar
- Ted Yeadon / piano, clavinet, guitar, flute, lead vocals
- Dave Quincy / alto, tenor & soprano saxes, piano, clavinet
- John McCoy / bass
- Liam Genockey / drums, percussion, vocals
- Loughty Amao / congas, African percussion, tenor & baritone saxes, flute, vocals

With:
- Tommy Eyre / piano, keyboards

Releases information

Artwork: Wade Wood Associates

LP Polydor ‎- 2383 296 (1974, UK)
LP Sireena Records ‎- SIR4017 (2012, Germany)

CD Disconforme SL ‎- DISC 1954 CD (1999, Europe)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ZZEBRA Zzebra ratings distribution


3.13
(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
5%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
45%
Good, but non-essential (45%)
45%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ZZEBRA Zzebra reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Zzebra's debut album is a most enjoyable jazzy ethnic brass rock enveloped in a sublime night/day window artwork, released late 74. The sextet present up to three brass player in its line-up, namely Quincy, Yeadon and Amao but the first two also play keyboards, while the third adds all of those delightful percussions. Interestingly enough the three brass players are the main songwriters as well and in the decreasing order I placed them. Completed by other If man Smith on guirtars and the Gaelic rhythm section of Genocky and McCoy, the group saw Gus Yeadon leave more or less at the end of the album's recording, and his buddy Tommy Eyre came in a did the remaining parts still missing, but he ended up staying.

Starting on the delightful Cobra Women, a last beat heating up periodically to fit the more nervous/dramatic passages, this track being with Spanish Fly one of the album's highligths. The following two tracks Mr J and Mah Jong are definitely more upbeat, both electric piano-driven and can easily be confused, for I find numerous sonic similarities between them. Ifé is a very sweet- African starting track that gives much flavour to this group. The afore-mentioned Spanish Fly has a dramatic tinge to it, and although Terry Smith is no Carlos Santana, he doesn't ridicule himself either. Amuso Fi starts softly to disappear in a percussion solo (or duet with Genocki), before re-appearing amidst plenty of piano and the overlong repetitive outro. Rainbow Song is easily the weak link of the album, with a pure brassy RnR beat and no invention or even catchy hooks for itself. Hungry Horse however more than makes up for it with incredible splash of virtuosi musical interplay, including a bunch of percussion breaks. It's just a bit too long in its closing section with the repetition of the chorus.

While maybe not as exciting as Cymande or Mandrill's debut album, Zzebra's first album still remains very much worth hearing and even owning. If you're into much brass instruments in your music, Zzebra is right up your alley.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A UK-based Jazz/Folk/Blues-Rock outfit,Zzebra were formed around 1973 by guitarist Terry Smith and sax player Dave Quincey,both coming from Jazz-Rockers If and flutist/sax player Loughty Amao (ex-Osibisa),along with Gus Yeadon on keyboards/piano,drummer Liam Genockey and bassist John McCoy.Their self-titled debut was released originally on Polydor in 1974.

The sextet decided to throw in this album all possible Jazz-related styles around,from If-related Jazz-Rock to Blues-Rock to Funk with a bit of African Folk and strong use of percussion.Thus,the album ended up to be really inconsistent,far from tight and fairly commercial at some point.Tracks like ''Man Jong'',''Hungry horse'' or ''Spanish fly'' show the band delivering really cool Jazz-Rock with plenty of saxes,almost fiery guitars at moments,decent piano lines and a furious strong rhythm section,indicating the real talent of Zzebra's members.The rest of the album though doesn't follow the same path.The first two cuts are mediocre Funk/Blues numbers with little to offer,''Ife'' is pure African Folk music only interesting for fans of the style,''Amuso Fi'' is an average Brass Rock track,while ''Rainbow train'' is a bit better,a somewhat Heavy/Jazz-Rock cut with a commercial sound but decent instrumental parts.However the vocals on the whole release are below average and do not help at all.

A bit of a dissapointment actually.I was expecting far more from this band and release but ''Zzebra'' would be an interesting release only to Jazz-Rock lovers,who want to listen to another about 20 minutes of nice Jazz-Rock and dont mind if the rest of the album is far from the style...2.5 stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The jazz-fusion scene may have had its roots in the 60s with Frank Zappa, Soft Machine, Miles Davis and others racing pellmell into the opposite stream of the spectrum until jazz and rock became a veritable alloy of musical sounds but once John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra made the style a worldwide phenomenon, it wasn't long before a wide range of acts were exploding onto the scene with more complex compositions that were finding inspiration from the explosive progressive rock scene of the early 70s. The band ZZEBRA may not be famous even within jazz-fusion circles but this band found its way into the London scene with two seasoned members from other early 70s classics.

ZZEBRA consisted of guitarist Terry Smith and saxophonist Dave Quincy from the band If along with Lasisi Amao from Osibisa. Along for the ride were Gus Yeadon (vocals, piano, guitar) from The Love Affair and newbies John McCoy (bass) and Liam Genockey on drums. The band was a major powerhouse on the live circuit and played numerous gigs over a period during the mid-70s but only released two albums during its time together. The band released this self-titled debut in 1974 and followed up with "Panic" a year later. Two archival releases would also find the light of day around the turn of the millennium but it's this debut that holds the most interest in the blossoming years of progressive jazz-rock, Nigerian folk rhythms, funk, blues and even a touch of flamenco.

What's really cool about this siZZling debut that requires two ZZ's in ZZEBRA is that the 8 tracks that comprise this album are all completely different and showcases different aspects of the excellent musicians involved in this project. Of the many influences that come into play, the album starts off with the hybrid track "Cobra Woman" which immediately gives a vibe of Santana but sounds more like the African version, particularly Nigeria's highlife scene which also found prominence in the 70s due to Fela Kuti and in this case, Loughty Amao's African connections. However just when you think it's just all funk, African music and touches of progressive jazz-rock, Tommy Eyre delivers a mean flute solo which evokes a sense of Jethro Tull. The melodies are quite catchy as jazz-rock should be.

"Mr J" evokes an O'Jays bass line (think "For The Love Of Money") but also adds a much funkier Motown sort of guitar part including a sizzling solo. "Mah Jang" takes things into prog folk with the flute but also delivers a sizzling mix of brass attacks but evolves the rock aspects and the first tune to showcase the excellent guitar playing abilities of Terry Smith who had channeled his proper John McLaughlin soloing abilities however he doesn't steel the show and allows a mix of sax and flute accompaniments to grace the jazzy chord progressions which at times sound like pure jazz with a funk bass. "Ife" is perhaps the most African sounding of the album with not only Nigerian rhythms but ethnic folk melodies as well. "Spanish Fly" takes a completely different approach as it mixes English folk flute with jazzy chord progressions and Middle Eastern scales and a touch of flamenco percussion. One of the highlights on the album for sure.

"Amuso Fi" is yet another Nigerian influenced tune although the dominating saxophone reminds me of Edgar Winter's White Trash band in its sensual addicting qualities. The track constructs not only an interesting polyrhythm but the main sax melody has a weird "skip a beat" sort of approach which makes this a tad weird despite being really accessible. The only true throwaway track on this album is the lackluster "Rainbow Train." Despite sounding like a pride parade theme sung by the Village People, the track actually sounds a lot like the Allman Brothers at certain times and a Motown hit at others. Not a horrible track, just not up to the standards of the album's others. "Hungry Horse" is another fave with a jittery progressive rock time signature parade of off-kilter rhythms and another that delivers the dexterity of Smith's guitar virtuosity however this track also finds all the musicians at their peak as this is the highlight of the album with killer drums, frenetic sax attacks and overall coolness.

Some may think this ZZEBRA album is too unfocused for its own good but personally that's what i love about it. Yeah, the band didn't totally nail its own sound on this debut but when all these tracks are performed so stunningly well with such catchy melodies it must makes me not care. This is jazz-rock with progressive touches at its best. The tracks are utterly infectious and diverse enough to keep my attention throughout the entire playing time. No instrument steals the show and all are allowed to strut their swag at key moments. The compositions are professionally constructed and almost everything on this album hits me in the right way. True it sounds a bit like an African version of Santana at times especially during the stellar drum solos but that is not a bad thing. The following album is much mellower almost in a Weather Report tamped downness, so if you want an nice energetic slice of jazz-rock passion then this debut ZZEBRA album won't disappoint. Not sure why this is generally rated so low but i'm lovin' the heck outa this one.

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