This is a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "Z".
If an artist or album you like is not reviewed here, please feel free
to contact me and make a suggestion.
Inacio Zatz "Zatz" (Dabliu, 2000)
A striking, surprising, and quite pleasant new example of the Brazilian mix'n'match method of music making... The album opens on a potentially troublesome note -- a piercing, BB King-style, electric blues riff, the sort of thing that in the United States has signified a muscle-bound, moribund musical genre ("urban blues") that has completely lost its creative edge for the last few decades... Naturally, when you hear someone in Brazil pick up a twang bar and wail away, your first instinct is to run and hide -- yet far from sucking, Inacio Zatz is a gas. For one thing, he's not a blues musician... at least he's not limited to the style. Actually, he doesn't seem to be limited to any style: this is an impressively eclectic record, incorporating bossa nova, afro-bloco percussion, Asian traditional and various shades of rock with equal ease. A few overly-goofy moments, but on the whole, well worth checking out!
Tom Ze - see artist discography
Horrible fusion-jazz, with lamentable debts to Milton Nascimento, Pat Metheny and various vocal harmony groups. It's a talented (or at least technically proficient) crew, including modern Braz-jazzers such as Claudio Nucci, Ze Renato, Ricardo Silveira and others... But it's just awful, pointless, blechhy music. Not my cup of tea.
Zimbo Trio "Trocando Em Miudos A Tristeza Do Jeca..." (1983)
Unenthralling nostalgic bossa nova instrumentals from this much-vaunted '60s combo. Mainly standards -- Jobim and Buarque -- but with a few modern twists, such as a tune by Egberto Gismonti and one by Djavan. Doesn't do much for me, I'm afraid.
Zuco 103 "The Other Side EP" (Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees, 2000)
A canny mix of Brazilian MPB, soul, and European trip-hop/dance styles. This Dutch ensemble features the sleek vocals of Brazilian expatriate, Lilian Veira... It took me a while to place the feel of her style, but finally it dawned on me: if Sade had spoken Portuguese, the result might have been much like this. This is a sugary, languid album, which should blow the minds of the soul-ier club kids, though those of a more traditional, less electronic bent may find their attention wandering after a while. The Other Side EP gets even clubbier and more house-y.
I liked Zuco's first album, but they lost me a little on this one. It's too disco-y, too retro for me to enjoy, and -- sadly -- Lilian Veira's vocals seem a bit too shrill. I think she's trying for a Chaka Khan soulfulness, but she's really just got a Gal Costa voice. Nonetheless, that's just my personal take on this album. I'm sure that anyone into clubbier, loungier, kitschier, hipper, more electronic lifestyle will find this album irresistible. It's a densely-layered, intricate pop mosaic, with a wider stylistic range than my description might imply. On the later tracks there are some cool numbers based on Afro-Brazilian percussion; there's also a noteworthy cover of Jorge Ben's "Bebete Vambora..." But in the long run, this just ain't my cup of tea.
Their best album so far, by far. A great, giddy modern Euro-Brazilian world-pop album, marking a quantum leap up from the band's first two albums from a few years back. On the opening track, "Na Magueira," singer Lilian Vieira bursts forth with an incandescent homage to the sprightly jazzy rhythm style of Elza Soares -- Vieira's version being draped in a contemporary techno-tinged sound mix... The band's roots in Europhilic dance music come back to the fore in a few of the house-ier tracks, but their explorations of African pop (on "Duele Le Le") and cameos by dub reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry make this album their richest, most resonant album to date. Nice stuff; as catchy as it is clever, and as propulsive as it is playful. Recommended.
Brazilian Music - Compilation Albums
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World Music Index