Zzebra were an interesting British jazz rock/progressive outfit featuring former members of IF and Osibisa.
Written by: Eric
SERIAL: 2383 296
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Terry Smith – guitar * Dave Quincy – tenor & soprano sax, piano, clarinet * Loughty Amato – conga drums, baritone & tenor sax, flute, assorted african percussion, vocals * Gus Yeadon – piano, guitar, flute, clarinet, lead vocals * Liam Genockey – drums, percussion, vocals * John McCoy – bass
TRACK LISTING: 01 Cobra Woman * 02 Mr J * 03 Mah Yong * 04 Ife * 05 Spanish Fly * 06 Amuso Fi * 07 Rainbow Train * 08 Hungry Horse
Zzebra were an interesting British jazz rock/progressive outfit featuring former members of IF and Osibisa and featured future Gillan and Samson bassist John McCoy.
The band released two major label albums on Polydor, shared stages with fusion heavies Return to Forever and Soft Machine as well as as acts as diverse as Procol Harum, Jess Roden Band, Country Joe McDonald and Krautrock crazies Can.
By some strange stroke of luck Zzebra even had a song placed in the trippy 1974 cult science fiction film ‘Zardoz’ which starred a ponytailed Sean Connery and a flying head. Yet sadly with a lack of album sales and always present personnel issues, the band quickly fell apart and these days are only remembered as a minor blip on the early 70’s UK prog scene.
While more commercial, Zzebra artistically in my opinion stood shoulder with highly-touted contemporaries Nucleus and Brand X and although their debut is a touch weaker than the follow-up LP ‘Panic’, there’s plenty here that’s worth a listen.
The sultry ‘Cobra Woman’ reminds me of a horn-less Blood Sweat & Tears while ‘Mr J’ evokes Santana, Macondo, Spiteri and other Latin influenced outfits.
On tracks ‘Ife’ and ‘Amuso Fi’, a delicious African influence is present, buoyed by the ever present percussion work of ex-Osibisa member Loughty Amato. Although on the final two cuts, ‘Rainbow Train’ and ‘Hungry Horse’, the group let loose as a fully fledged, no holds barred rock band.
Both Zzebra albums have been reissued on a great value for money Angel Air double disc set with a bevy of bonus tracks including ‘Zardoz (Beethoven Opus 92)’ from the aforementioned movie which was released as a single. Get it before it disappears.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)