Zaza

A Tout'

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Zaza is a singer who hails from Martinique. She usually releases one single a year during carnival time. This album is an excellent collection of some her singles from the 1980s. She has a gutsy, sensual voice and a cadre of some the best studio musicians from Guadeloupe and Martinique backing her up (some are not named due to contractual complications). This release was recorded at Crazy Sound Studio in Guadeloupe, which at that time was just beginning to put out some exceptional music. Freddy Marshall, who produced the early Kassav' breakthrough albums of the early '80s, is at the helm here, and it shows. He has also written five of the songs that Zaza puts her spitfire into. The music here is exceptionally high-quality zouk that cooks and swings with a vengeance. She tears into tracks like "Eloi Zombi," which tells of pleading with the zombi and Saint Eloi to let her go from its spell. The basslines, rhythm guitar, and percussion will clean out any dust in your woofers. The hand percussion rides along with the synthesizers here and provides more punch than machine alone. The material also draws on cadence and reggae, giving it a freshness that holds up with repeated listening. There's not a lame track here. It's a shame that this is the only compilation of her singles ever issued and, as of this review, out of print. If you ever come across it, grab it! Highly recommended.

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