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- Paul Zaza -- keyboards, bass




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Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Zaza

Company: Baby Grand

Catalog: SE 1033
Year: 1977

Country/State: Canada

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5835

Price: $50.00


The cleverly-titled "Zaza" was actually a release by Canadian composer Paul Zaza.  I'm sure Mr. Zaza wouldn't object to my recapping his biography:


This versatile Canadian composer began his career as a classically trained pianist, completing a degree at the esteemed Toronto Conservatory of Music. He has also always had a deep love of rock music, playing bass with the hit musical Hair and touring with the Fifth Dimension in the 1970s. After establishing himself in the world of film and television scoring, Zaza has now over 175 feature films, television series and specials to date to his credit, including Porky's, Meatballs III, A Christmas Story, Prom Night, Derby, Baby Geniuses, Murder By Decree, The Fourth Angel and Grizzly Falls. Zaza is the recipient of many Film and Television Awards including Canada's prestigious Genie Award as well as fourteen SOCAN awards.


So before making in big time in the film business Zaza somehow got involved with the small Los Angeles-based Baby Grand label, releasing this 1977 Carl Zittrer produced album to what was literally instantaneous obscurity.  Featuring six instrumental numbers, the emphasis was clearly on Zaza's lead guitar and judging by these numbers, the man was quite a talent. 


- 'Jump, Hop 'n' Rock' started the album off with an interesting, mildly rockabilly instrumental.  Driven by a tasty electric guitar (telecaster?), it actually sounded like something the late Danny Gatton might have recorded.  As a big Gatton fan that was intended as a complement.  rating: *** stars

- Another guitar powered instrumental, 'Gravy Boat Man' started out with a nice Stax-flavored groove, before morphing into a more rock oriented number with some killer twin lead guitar moves that any Allman Brothers fan would enjoy.  One of the album highlights.   rating: **** stars

- Yeah, a great case of truth in advertising, most of  'Blues for a Sunday' was a standard electric blues number.  The performance was certainly professional, but to my ears it wasn't anything particularly impressive; imagine a standard cut on a Roy Buchanan album and you'd know what to expect.  That said, towards the end of the seven minute track things got a little more experimental with some unexpected jazzy touches.  Nice poppin' bass and slide guitar in the final section which was abruptly faded.   rating: ** stars

- Midway Rock' opened side two with the album's most conventional and commercial outing.  Great melody and some excellent slightly jazz-tinged lead guitar.  Another album highlight.   rating: **** stars  

- With punchy horns and lots of percussion, 'Punky Pepper' added a bit of Latin flavor to the mix.  Not quite disco-ish, but close and I have to admit to being surprised by how likeable it was.  Again, the song sported some first rate lead guitar.   rating: *** stars  

- Another guitar showcase, 'Ridin' High' bounced all over the musical spectrum including some fantastic rock and jazz moves scattered across the eight minutes.   rating: *** stars  


Certainly wouldn't appeal to mainstream rock fans, but anyone into strong lead guitar and jazz-rock moves would likely find this one of interest.


"Zaza" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Jump, Hop 'n' Rock (instrumental)   (Paul Zaza) - 2:45

2.) Gravy Boat Man (instrumental)   (Paul Zaza - P. Farnon) - 5:06

3.) Blues for a Sunday (instrumental)   (Paul Zaza) - 7:00


(side 2)
1.) Midway Rock  (instrumental)  (Paul Zaza - P. Farnon) - 4:40

2.) Punky Pepper (instrumental)   (Paul Zaza - P. Farnon) - 6:00

3.) Ridin' High (instrumental)   (Paul Zaza - P. Farnon) - 8:10


Zaza was actually kind enough to send me a brief email on the LP:


Yes this was one of many albums I wrote/produced for that label. The label was based out of Los Angeles in the 70's and seemed to specialize in fusion/jazz style genres. However, one of their downfalls was that they weren't strong in the advertising/promotion department. Consequently, most, if not all, of their product sat on the shelves unknown to the jazz fans of the era.

Some of the albums (not necessarily mine) were brilliant and unfortunately got no recognition whatsoever.

I still have a few (un-opened) in mint condition.  Who knows, someday, they may be collector's items.

That's about all I can tell you Scott.


Paul J. Zaza

September 2009


For anyone interested, Zaza has a small web presence at: