Zap Pow

Zap Pow

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One of Jamaica's most revered bands, Zap Pow were formed at the dawn of the '70s. The group scored with its first single, "Mystic Mood," breaking soon after into the international market with the sizzling "This Is Reggae Music." Although it was Zap Pow's abstract, jazz-flecked, funk-fired, bubbly reggae instrumentals that initially caught the attention of record buyers, they also released vocal cuts, with the leads shared between bassist Mike Williams and saxophonist Glen DeCosta. Until, that is, Zap's guitarist Dwight Pinkney caught a young Beres Hammond on-stage, and Hammond joined the group in late 1975. Hammond's powerful, emotive vocals were a perfect fit for Pow, and a steady stream of smash singles followed. In 1978 Island bundled up six of the group's hits drawn from as far back as 1973 for Zap Pow's eponymous compilation. Fans were treated to such sumptuous roots fare as "Last War," "Rootsman Rising," and the funky "World," alongside a trio of grand romantic numbers -- "Excuse Me," "Some Sweet Day," and "Let's Fall in Love," stunners one and all. Neither the fabulous "Reggae Music" nor the sublime "Mystic Mood" were included, but this reissue rights that wrong, and adds another half-dozen great period cuts to boot. Further standouts include "United," "Sunshine People," the sophisticated "Tonight We Love," and the jazz-reggae spectacular "Jah Haawn," the latter two stellar instrumentals. Such phenomenal talent was invariably in high demand. At the end of the decade Hammond departed for a solo career, while the musicians were individually courted by myriad producers and artists, all leading to Zap Pow's demise. The band's releases are all worth searching out, and this reissue makes a great start for any reggae fan and collector.

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