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Zao - Kawana CD (album) cover





4.12 | 59 ratings

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4 stars Replacing a string quartet from the previous album with solo violinist Didier Lockwood and seemingly losing nothing shows just how good he was. This is a great album from Zao, all the more gutting that Seffer decided to go it alone afterwards. Not a huge amount of Zeuhl content to speak of though

The opener Natura is my favourite Zao track - tightly constructed jazz rock with dark undertones and a slight nod to Zeuhl, great interplay between Seffer and Lockwood. That interplay increases tenfold on the next track Tserouf, which is at a faster pace, starting with a funk theme but breaking into quick and tight jazz improvisation.

F.F.F. is a drum-free break, sounding a little extra-terrestrial to begin with thanks to Cahen's dark piano chords, added to by violin. A really nice change of pace after the previous two tracks but we then return to the tight jazz fusion theme, but definitely without getting 'samey'; Kabal including some good synth work backed up by the usual sax & violin.

Sadie is a looser, slower track built to showcase the saxophone - potentially a sign of Seffer's desire to go solo.

Free Folk opens up with a strange choir chorus that's almost Zeuhl but not quite. Its a fairly relaxed track for the first half before a gradual pick up of pace almost to chaotic levels with heavy bass and drumming before returning to the choral vocals. Lockwood's violin half way through is excellent, and this is also the first time we really hear the tight drumming of Truong who has been surprisingly 'background noise' up to this point.

Just squeezes into 4 stars for me - one of a few Zao albums where I'd listen repeatedly all the way through, but marks off for not showcasing Truong's drumming better, and sometimes the jarring saxophone gets a bit much

bartymj | 4/5 |


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