Neil Zaza comes from the school of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. The thing is, he has learned his lesson well enough to bring into question who should be the teacher and who the student. Indeed, Zaza's sound encompasses that classic rock textured guitar instrumental type of music. It does, however, seem to have an energy and enthusiasm that are sometimes missing from the aforementioned guitarists' work. It has all the technical skill, but with a wonderful taste and fire that are sometimes lacking in the music of Vai and Satriani. Zaza is not tied to just those two guitarists for inspiration, though; from time to time you might hear sounds that call to mind musicians such as Edgar Winter, Steve Howe, and Carlos Santana. Add to that mix the killer Journey rhythm section of Steve Smith and Ross Valory and you can really see what makes this disc such a special work. Among the highlights of the CD is a wonderful take on Prince's "Purple Rain," with the guitar taking the vocal line on this instrumental arrangement. If your taste runs to guitar heroes, do yourself a favor and check this one out. You will be pleased.
Staring at the Sun Review
by Gary Hill