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Zao - Typhareth CD (album) cover





3.63 | 34 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Zao started out as an exciting Jazz-Rock ensemble featuring Yochk'o Seffer and Francois Cahen, Sax and Keyboards respectively, both from an early line-up of French Zeuhl band Magma (during their '1001 Degrees Centigrades' release). The music of their debut album, Z=7L, wasn't a far cry from the early Magma idealism - obscure jazz-rock with that 'other worldly' twist to it and weird vocalizings. This 1977 release, Typhareth, is quite a good album (contrary to popular belief), but its Zeuhl stylings are completely absent, and it has a slightly 'mainstream' sound that is closer to Weather Report (circa Mysterious Traveller) than their own previous album. Another loss is Yochk'o, which is sad, as he was the stronger composer IMO. Typhareth sees Cahen joined by Trombonist Hamid Belhocine, Francois Debricon (sax/flute), Michel Seguin (perc.) bassist Gerard Prevost (since their 3rd release, Shekina) and obviously a young Manu Katche on the Drumkit. This is the earliest recording of Manu I know of... Onto the music ; album opener 'Merci Jacky' is superb, with a laid-back groove of drums and perc. with some tasty flanged-bass playing from Prevost, the ever-present Rhodes Electric piano, and then the horn section kicks in. About midway the tempo changes with some great riffing and a really good Trombone lead steals the show, then the band just jams out until the 7 min+ mark. Title track, all 12 and a half minutes of it, is a beautiful, slow, relaxing groove that just oozes along with ease, maybe too slow for some, but it's all over too soon for me. Side 2, now this is a bit confusing as the song timings on the record label (RCA) don't match up with the tracks on the vinyl, therefore, do the titles correspond correctly with the track being played and it's incorrect timing ??? Anyway, judging by the song names, I'd say the first track is 'Le Temps Changent', and it's a weaker, shorter track, which is funky, but tries too hard to sound 'hip', and almost is a commercially viable venture. 'Binah' is another mellow, jazzy tune, similar in mood to the title track, very tastefully played for sure. The last track, the lengthy 'Troupeau de Bisons sous Un Crane' is a jammy track full of brass and e-piano, funky at times but has a kind of 'lounge' vibe to it. Overall, I rate it as 4 (all other Zao releases I say are masterpieces, but in all fairness, I am no authority of what is a brilliant release or not, due to my bias), as it is an excellent addition to your collection if can obtain a copy, and that's also if you 'do jazz' , if you don't, then it's a waste of your time.
Tom Ozric | 4/5 |


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